From Trudi

Kia ora koutou 
We are getting close to the end of the school year, and what a year it has been! COVID-19 has put a lot of pressure on our community but together, we have risen to the challenge. 
I want to thank you once more, for all you have done to keep yourselves, your whānau and our community as safe as possible. Through reinforcing good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, staying away if sick and seeking medical advice, we have kept operating safely, and our tamariki and rangatahi have, importantly, continued to learn.  
I also extend a specific thank you to all those in our community who have worked in health services and on the frontline to support New Zealand’s defence against COVID-19. They and their families and whānau have sacrificed so much to contribute to our own safety and to support the return home for more than 70,000 New Zealanders.  
You may not be aware of the extent of the work our frontline community do to keep us all safe including regularly being tested, constantly monitoring for symptoms, keeping a close track of their movements, maintaining physical distancing and holding off hugging loved ones when they get home until they have had a shower and changed clothes.  
COVID-19 remains a tricky virus and on the very rare occasion a frontline worker has become infected, the system has kicked into place. Through this vigilance and the health system response, we get to enjoy the relative freedom of Alert Level 1.  
I am sure you will join me in giving a special thank you to those individuals for all they have done for us. 

Strategic Goals  On our staff only day at the beginning of term we worked with some facilitators to review our progress as a school over the last 3 years and set some priority areas for development for the next 3.  The 'Road Map' we developed is below , including our new 3 strategic goals.  

Students moving classes  If your child is moving to a different site / satellite location then you will already have received a call from the team leader.  All other students will remain at the same site/satellite class but may have a change of Teacher or room .  This will be confirmed with you in the last week of term.
Last Day of Term 
Tuesday 15 December at 12 o'clock. 

Term Dates 2021:
Term 1:  3 February - 16 April
Term 2:  3 May - 9 July 
Term 3:  26 July - 1 October
Term 4:  18 October - 14 December

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and New Year full of laughter and relaxation with family and friends.

School News

Mahi Tahi meetings
Thank you to all families who came along to Mahi Tahi meetings in the last 2 weeks.  It's has been a great opportunity to celebrate progress and connect with families.  Strong partnerships between home and school are one of our strongly held beliefs at CASS. If you have missed the meeting, please contact your child's Teacher and we will try to rearrange a date. 
Dominion Road 
Work is progressing on the renovations at our Dominion Road satellite classes. The construction team are feeling pretty confident that we will be able to move into out new spaces next term.  

Pitau Market & Craft Day
Thank you to everyone who came along to support the Pitau team at their market day. It was a great fundraiser for the Senior Ball being held on 4th December. Checkout the photos below for some of the activities.

A final word from Stephen Doel                                                
It has been a huge honour being able to be part of the leadership team of the school, working through the intricacies of merging two schools together. I have made the decision to refresh and refocus for 2021 and will leave the school safe in the knowledge that CASS are heading to be a world class facility of innovation, creativity, contribution and learning designed specifically for the absolute best for our students and staff.
I started my Special Education journey in 2005 at Sunnydene, employed at our May Rd Satellite class working with new entrants, moving through to school to lead the Outreach Programme, then ventured into another school and back to work at Carlson School as Associate Principal in 2016. 2017 saw both Sunnydene and Carlson leading to a merge process of which I have been proud to be a part of. An experience that was unique, presented a lots of challenges, but with the challenges came the opportunity to rethink education and design/create a new school that took the good parts from both schools and put them into action in the new CASS. Lead by our outstanding leader Trudi we have been able to weave our way through some experiences that have enabled us to create a school of world class stature. Our journey is by no means over and this will continue, but I am proud of the contribution I have made to this school.
I have had the pleasure to work with some outstanding teachers and staff who are absolutely dedicated to the students. As well as that the strong professional relationships I have been able to make with parents, families and outside agencies.
Most of all my fondest and most precious memories will be with the experiences and connections I have had with the students. This more than anything sings to my soul and these connections will stay with me for a lifetime. Thank you all for being part of my journey.
Nga mihi nui ki a koe. Thank you.
Stephen Doel
  Te Ropu Manuka 
The Manuka Team have made the most of our freedom, after all the COVID lockdowns and had an outside the classroom learning experience at the Museum of Transport and Technology this term, to wrap up our topic of Get Moving! You would have seen photos of this on Seesaw. They also enjoyed Diwali with those in our community who celebrate this event.
As we come to the end of a strangely turbulent year, The Manuka Team and I would like to say a huge thank-you to the parents of our amazing young people. Thank-you for the manner in which you have supported  your young person, and how you have supported the teaching team. Without this co-operation, the impact our teaching and therapy can have on our students, is limited.
Several of our students are moving on to new classes in 2021 and this is a bittersweet event for us all. Of course we are enormously proud of the progress they have made, but we will be sorry to see them move on. However, we will continue to track their progress through their time at CASS.
I would like to thank my Manuka Team - the Teachers, Therapists and the Learning Assistants – for their dedication and commitment to the students. They go out of their way to plan exciting learning for the young people  and make sure that each day, they do their best to set the students up for success. I am proud of the team.
Along with the Manuka Team, I wish each of you a wonderful end of year break and also hope that there is time for you to rest.                                                              
   Te Ropu Kowhai  

 Kia Ora Tatou, 
We are almost at the end of what has been a very different school year. We have all learned from our lockdown experiences and I thank all of you who threw yourselves into the home learning opportunities offered. It certainly gave us a window into what your wonderful children do at home.
The Mahi Tahi meetings were a great success, it was lovely to meet with you all to share and celebrate the years achievements. Watching many of our students taking a lead at their Mahi Tahi meetings, sharing their presentations was quite a humbling experience.
I hope that you have all enjoyed the “around the world” theme as much as we have. I have seen some very creative dances, costumes, art and even food from so many different cultures that contribute to making our country unique and wonderful. With just a couple of weeks to go, until the end of term, our jet setting students will halt their travels and start preparing arts and crafts for Christmas. Expect to be wowed!
Transition visits will take place for students over the next couple of weeks for those that would benefit. Social stories will also be made up for some students.
Class details and placements for 2021 will be sent home at the end of term. These will include of teachers, learning assistants and students.
I hope that you all enjoy some quality family time over the summer break and can get out and about.
Best Wishes Sonya and Team Kowhai.


   Te Ropu Nikau 

Kia Ora families and Whanau,


Even though we have had a tumultuous year our students have enjoyed the routines and structures of the classroom and so have transitioned back into school without a hitch. We are now nearing the end of Term 4 with school finishing on 15th December at 12.00. Taxis will be picking students up at this time. 

We only have a couple of weeks left of term 4 and the students are enjoying getting out and about with some end of term trips and swimming back on the cards. For many students inclusion activities with their mainstream friends have started up again which brings another exciting dimension to learning. 

I would like to say a big thankyou to all of the Parents and Whanau who joined us of the Mahi Tahi meetings in week 6 and 7. Without your valuable input we would not achieve the fabulous progress that our tamariki have made.  

In the next week or so you will be receiving information about your childs’ class for next year, this will include details of learning assistants, therapists and the other students. If your child is needing a different uniform all of the schools have details on their website. Many also have second hand uniform shops which may be useful. 
 I have really enjoyed meeting and working with all of you in 2020. May I also wish you all the best for Christmas and a wonderful New Year, let’s hope for a better 2021!

Ma te wa, Helen 


   Te Ropu Kauri 

We are fast approaching the end of 2020 and this term has been filled with events, learning experiences, and parent meetings. Great to meet so many parents and families through the Mahi Tahi meetings where the students and teaching team discussed and presented their highlights package of learning for this year. Its always a pleasure to showcase all the hard work and achievement your son or daughter has made this year and makes the students feel very proud.
Earlier this term Pitau focused a lot of their work towards ‘Market Day’. A very busy lead up where students and teaching teams finalized their products to sell, brushed up on their customer service skills, and readied themselves for the queues of people demanding their products. A lot of good Xmas bargains were purchased and the profits to this all contribute towards the end of year ‘Senior Ball’.
We have some more events coming up that we would love to see as many students and families at as possible.
  • Friday the 4th of December 7-9pm Senior School Luau Ball, this is chance for students to engage with their peers, staff and families in a social context and dance the night away. This will be held at our Base School, 48 Smallfield Avenue, 3 Kings for students aged 16-21 years of age. Refreshments will be served and bring your dancing shoes and your Aloha attitude.
  • Friday the 11th of December we recognize and celebrate the contributions of Akhil and Tenny (Base 4), Miracle, Quinn, Suzanne, Sanjeev, Tushaye (Pitau). These students are graduating school and are ready to venture forward into their new programmes for 2021.
This Graduation and Senior School Prizegiving assembly will be held at ‘The Senior Citizens Room at The Fickling Centre’ 10.30am – 12.30pm.
All families, friends of these students are invited to attend and give these students the send off they deserve, Refreshments will be served after the ceremony. We will also present academic and social awards to 2 students from each senior class.
Helpful Information

Key Dates for 2020:

 4 December                     Senior Ball
11 December                    Senior Graduation
15 December                    Last day of Term 4 (early finish 12 o'clock)

Key Dates for 2021:
3 February                        Term 1 - First Day for students
16 April                               Last day of Term 1


Admin Bits
Wishing you all a lovely, safe and relaxing Christmas and New year. Happy holidays!

Contact Details changes
If your contact details change e.g. address, phone number or email address, etc please ensure you inform the school office so we can keep our records up to date. Please email

Please let us know if your child will be at respite for the start of school next year. This is ensure that transport is in place.

Important Phone numbers:
CASS school office: 620 7680 or 027 625 9344
Cross Country Rentals: 0800 467 3782
South Auckland Taxis: 0800 33 33 00

Raukatauri Music Therapy
In addition to providing the music therapy services at CASS, Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre also provides individual and small group sessions at their Grafton centre and satellite locations – located around Auckland in Orewa, Titirangi, Otara and Pukekohe.  The Registered Music Therapists at Raukatauri use the motivating power of music to work towards each child’s individual goals, which may focus on growth in areas such as expressive language, emotional regulation, attention, engagement and self-expression.  Because Raukatauri is a charitable trust, they subsidise all of their sessions and never want payment to be a barrier to anyone receiving music therapy.  While their suggested fee for individual sessions is $55, families who are on a low income can apply to pay as little as $6 per week.  You can find more information about their services on their website, which is also where you can make a referral for your child to music therapy:  Once their team receives the referral, they will invite you in for a free parent/carer consultation to answer any questions you might have. 
Ngā mihi
Jen Ryckaert
Clinical and Centre Director

Are you interested in helping with research?

My name is Tilila Muller and I'm a research assistant for Dr Ofa Dewes from the University of Auckland School of Nursing, who is leading a study called "Building Connections as We Age".

Our study hopes to ensure that health, education and social services meet the needs of young Pacific Island carers of family members with disabilities or chronic illness.

I was wondering if you would be interested to assist us by posting our information on what we are trying to achieve in your school notices in the hope that we will find some participants in the school community that fit this criteria.  I believe this study would be of great benefit to the many Pacific Island children attending your schools as well as their families.

If you are able to assist us I could come in to meet with you when you are available to share a bit more information/details, or please do not hesitate to contact myself or Ofa for further information.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,


Tilila Muller

Research Assistant 

021 090 18147

021 041 1054

Nga Mihi,
Trudi Brocas 

Tumuaki | Principal
48 Smallfield Ave | Mt Roskill

Ph: 09 6207680 


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Central Auckland Specialist School · 48 Smallfield ave · Auckland, 1042 · New Zealand