Principal's comment - 19 February

Dear Parents, Students and Staff

Thank you to the many parents and caregivers who attended the Year 9 Meet’n’Greet Evening last week.  The opportunity for family to meet with teachers and other parents/caregivers is one we value, as part of the wider push for easy and continuing communication between school and home.  We all have the same goals in terms of ensuring that education is purposeful and fun, and part of that is a free exchange between home and school.  We try to work to a “no surprises” policy, part of which is remote access to students’ Kamar data, the use of digital communication and face-to-face meetings such as the Meet’n’Greet. 

This week we have our only full school assembly, where we recognise and celebrate students’ academic results from 2019.  Students who achieved Excellence Endorsements at Level 1 or 2 are presented with certificates and badges and those who gained a New Zealand Scholarship from Year 12 (competing with the Year 13 cohort in New Zealand) receive a certificate and an Academic Tie recognising national-level success.  At this assembly we also remind both our new student cohort in Year 9 and our returning students of our core values as a school. 

As part of our wider efforts to make school work well, there are some new elements in 2020.  We have a new and simpler timetable, for which everyone appears to be grateful.  There were historical reasons for the previous model’s complexity, but it’s good to see the new one up and running.  At Year 9 we have a course running in the Languages Learning Area slot where all students are introduced to Tikanga Māori, including work on Te Reo itself.  The aim of the course is to ensure that all of our students have the cultural fluency they will need to be comfortable in their own country. Across the wider school, mentor time has been developed into an opportunity to work on elements from the front end of the New Zealand Curriculum; in simplistic terms those elements that work to develop and enhance social and civic skills, as well as those that drive well-being.  That’s a good deal to cover and I thank the staff who have done many hours of meeting and planning in behind the scenes to make these new steps possible.

As the year develops, there are many events, trips and courses.  These are listed on the full school calendar accessible on the website, so families can view what is coming up and what commitments might be involved for students. Other systems that can help include the ability to set up automatic payments into a student’s account - overseen by the Resource Centre - to spread costs for the likes of sports registrations or trips away to nationals that are known to be likely. Setting up early payments can ease financial stresses. In all instances, if circumstances change and a trip or event fails to eventuate, any monies remain returnable. Contact the Resource Centre if you wish to set up such a system.

In recent days Denise Johnson, Associate Principal, has sent out an appeal for help to provide assistance to a few of our Year 9 students whose family circumstances are such that the purchase of an electronic device is impossible. She has had some lovely responses, including from a former student who is well into a medical qualification and who was helped by such generosity in the past and from former students ranging from as far away as Scotland. How heart-warming that is. Thank you to those who are able to help and do so. It creates moments of magic that can launch students into a different future.       

Ross Sinclair