South Otago High School

South Otago High School

Quality Education in a Supportive Community

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  • Principals Address – 11 April 2014

    11th Apr 2014

    Tena Koutou Katoa

    Goodness what a long term this has been.

    The school is settled, the majority of the students are productive and achieving their set goals. There are a small number who will be required to come back for holiday tuition during the second week of the school holidays to put in the effort needed or to receive extra teaching in areas that have eluded them this term. As a community you have supported this initiative last year and it was one of the factors that saw us raise academic achievement from 67% to 87% in Level 1 in 2013.

    I need you to continue to support me over this issue and re-member that the staff who front up for these classes do so out of their paid entitled holiday time. When you consider that these teachers will have already tried to arrange catch up times at lunch or afterschool volunteering for holiday teaching is a very generous and professional response from them.

    I will write to you early next week to inform you of the students required at school.

    Wednesday PLGs

    I need to ask that you support us over the late start on Wednesday mornings. There are youngsters who think setting off to school at 9am, drifting to the Diner for breakfast and coming on to school is ok.

    The community do not want large numbers of teenagers drifting in and out of their shops, lingering in the commercial area of our town. Last week there were over 30 students who had pre-arranged to meet and sort out a dispute – at the Diner. Not a good look for our school or community.

    I cannot change the Collective Agreement or the PPTA stance on paid holiday time or Professional Development time. Clearly by the way the teacher’s at this school have responded to the extra tutoring required in the holidays they have demonstrated to this community their passion and dedication to their craft and to our students. I ask that you respect my very clear instructions over this highly valued Professional Development time of 50 minutes a week.

    We should all be delighted that our staff are ready and willing to investigate better teaching practise and reflect upon the changes they are making in their Teaching as Inquiry cycles.

    Either your son or daughter is dropped off at school, walks to get here by 8.45am (and has clear instructions from you to go nowhere else but school) or gets on a MOE bus – which must drop them at this school – and they stay here or I will begin to take a roll and all students not present will be automatically held in an afterschool detention.

    The school is officially closed until 9.45am – I open the school and supervise students to help parents with supervision problems. Students can arrive to school at 9.35am and proceed directly to their first period class.

    We are undertaking this PD for a two year cycle – it is here to stay.

    Attendance

    Attendance is the most significant effect on school achievement. It is pure common sense isn’t it?

    Currently we have student out of school for dentist, physio, optometry appointments– all could be done after school, on Saturday mornings or in the upcoming holiday period.

    When we open the parent portal to you to view absences or lates many of you will be surprised at how a period here and there add up to affect the results of your children. It is particularly important for all students to be here all week in the last week of term – many assessments and evaluations are finalised in this week.

    Please support us by insisting your young person is here every day. If you need help with this contact the Dean or Guidance Counsellor here at school.

    The staff and I discussed the consumption of ‘energy’ drinks at a recent staff meeting. Some young people have been coming to school with 3-4 cans of ‘V’ or ‘Mother’ – these drinks are full of sugar and caffeine and children who consume them find it difficult to sit quietly and study – even the advertisements on TV will tell us that – remember – ‘it will give you wings’.

    We are trying very hard to make learning a pleasurable experience here at SOHS; these do not help, so we have decided that no student will be permitted to consume drinks that have not been purchased at our canteen. Again – I thank you for your support, it is another one that falls into the ‘common sense basket’

    The Police ‘Bluelight’ mentoring scheme asked the school if they could arrange for 13 students to go flying for the day. It gives me huge pleasure to have been able to ask 13 outstanding Y10 students to go along as a treat for being all we could want them to be here at school. Those 13 students are all pre-sent every-day, work hard to meet their SOAP scores, complete all tasks in class and are a genuine pleasure to teach and have in this school. Well done to all of you. I hope the day is bright and clear for your flight.

    We are about to watch the staff play the student council at Touch. If I were the staff playing I would be worried. The Council and Greg Heller are putting on a free sausage sizzle, music from the music department – a carnival atmosphere on a lovely South Otago Autumnal day and a great way to finish the week.

    Have a happy and safe weekend enjoying your whanau.

    Ka Kite Ano
    Mrs Jo Hutt
    Principal