18 May 2020
Ka mua, Ka muri
“Explore the past, from it shape the future.”
Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa
I am writing this message from my office, our first day back after the lockdown. The seven-eight weeks that it ran for are now behind us, but the ramifications of this experience will be with us for some time yet. The whakatauki that I have chosen came from the back of a book I read during this time, “Pūrākau”, a collection of Māori myths written and interpreted by Māori both in ancient and modern contexts; Witi Ihimaera is the editor. Our COVID-19 lockdown experiences are very recent history, but there will be much that we can learn from it. The experience of learning online, self-paced learning and using Zoom may well be useful pedagogies for the future.
I will be the first to acknowledge though that the style of the learning described above has not been for everyone, and it would have better to have had time to prepare students (and staff) as to what this experience might be like. But this was not a luxury we had. The upshot is that some students have embraced the experience and are ahead of where they would have been had they attended school, others have coped OK, others have found the whole experience challenging and have a lot of catching up to do. We will support all the students to ensure that they are not disadvantaged over the coming weeks.
There are changes coming up. NCEA examinations will now start and finish later, Art Portfolios have had their submission dates pushed back, and our term 4 has gained extra teaching time. In the past the seniors have had six days off school for derived examination grades, this will not happen this year and we will do the assessments in class time. This will create additional teaching time.
It is our hope to also get our co-curricular programme going in some shape or form. There will be an announcement regarding school sport after May 25th, our School Council Executives have plans for a variety of activities for the students, and we are hopeful that some of our other traditional activities may take place in some other shape of form e.g. the Year 12 & 13 Ball. However, this will require a change in the rules around public gatherings.
The rest of the term and year will be an interesting one for all of us, but if today is anything to go by the students all seem keen and eager to be back and we are off to a good start.
One last thing, originally we had planned a teacher only day on Friday May 29th, and a mid-term break on Tuesday 2nd June (after Queens Birthday). We will retain this break as we advised the community of this at the start of the year and people had made arrangements.
I wish you all the best as we re-begin our school year.
Ngā mihi nui