July 2020

3 July 2020

 

'Titiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua'

 

Look to your past experiences in order to forge the future.

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

The end of term is finally upon us.  What a dramatic few months we have been through and while we are back at COVID-19 Level 1 things are still not quite normal.  We still have international students who wish to start at the College but our quarantine rules do not make this possible. We are also at the point of the year where we would have achieved many things such as holding our school ball and the bulk of the winter sports season, but these things are still before us.

 

As I look to our school calendar, I can see so much that we still hope to achieve.  As mentioned the winter sports season will take us into September, the school ball will be late August, the NOSCARS are back on, the Year 11 semi-formal, student elections for the Board of Trustees, the list goes on.  It will be a demanding time for all of us but it is our hope that our students will not be too disadvantaged because of the lockdown.

 

One of the things that many of us are looking forward to is the celebration of Matariki.  We will be meeting at the College at 5:30am on Monday July 20th (first day back!) and start by blessing our new Tino Rangatiratanga flag and our new replacement New Zealand /Aotearoa Ensign Flag. We will welcome the Matariki star cluster, welcome the new year, share breakfast and have a hangi lunch for the students.  Certainly a big day to start the new term.

As indicated in earlier messages there is a plan to rebuild our library, upgrade some of our science labs and the technician’s room and rebuild the staffroom.  These buildings have water tightness issues and we have received $10million towards this work.  However, roll growth is another issue for us, but the Ministry of Education plans to treat these as separate projects, although it makes sense to do all the planning and construction in one go.  As a result, during the holidays, we will be having the first of several prefabs trucked into the school.  The only place we can put it is in our quad area, so outdoor space for the students is starting to become limited.

 

We are currently enrolling for 2021 and already we have received over 200 applications.  I can well see our College having over 250 Year 9s again next year so the extra space will become important. I am also starting to think that having occasions such as junior assemblies in the Hall may well be a thing of the past.

 

As mentioned, it has been a long first half to the start of the year, as one of my colleagues said, “It feels like Term 1, week 26!”  Very true.  So, I hope all the students and their families have a good break, get re-energized and are ready to go next term because it will be a big one for everyone.

Ngā manaakitanga

Grant Jones

May 18 2020

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

Grant Jones


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