South Otago High School

South Otago High School

Quality Education in a Supportive Community

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  • Principal’s Address 17th October 2014

    20th Oct 2014

    Tena Koutou Katoa

    Welcome back to Term 4. I hope you enjoyed the break from the routine of regular school hours and the constraints it has upon family life.

    We had around 150 students into school during the break,  completing STAR courses, internal  technology standards, students undertaking the Merit and Endorsement programme on “how to think” as well as students required to attend catch-up work previously missed. This made it a very busy place indeed.

    I want to thank all the staff who continue to give up their personal leave days to continue to teach and educate our young people. For most of the staff this means that they are not getting more than a week off each term holiday throughout the year . This is a very draining reality.

    With this change in attitude towards academic success— young people volunteering to come back and try harder to achieve to their potential, comes as a realisation that you as our community, are right behind us in making the focus of our schooling about reaching personal potential. Gone are the days where ‘just enough to pass’ is acceptable.

    I want to thank you for trusting the vision I have for this school and doing your part as parents, grandparents and whanau to support your young person by getting them to school in the holidays and taking an interest in their numerous successes. Great school results and a sense of happiness in young people, cannot be achieved without full collaboration between schools, homes and the individual student.

    We have come a long way in the two years I have been principal at SOHS. This is a direct result of team work.

    Preparing for Exams

    With less than three weeks remaining before the external examinations begin, I ask that all parents and caregivers now steady themselves for the onslaught that is about to occur. That is, the persistent requests by your child for socialising, parties and  celebrations that are possibly planned to mark the end of the school year.

    This is the time we must stay strong and resolute about the need for no socialisation at all. The end of the formal teaching aspect of the school year is not the end of school. It is the worst time possible to celebrate – we celebrate things when they are complete – not prior to the most important part of the year, the external examinations.

    Invariably, some parents will allow young people to celebrate prematurely. We could see young people with broken limbs or serious accidents resulting from parties, alcohol, cars and high-jinks while celebrating the end of the year.

    The harsh reality is that these young people cannot have help in their exams. A broken hand or arm does not qualify for a ‘reader-writer’ and unless they have been exceptional students, are highly likely to fail through compassionate consideration, the examinations they cannot sit.

    Now is the time for complete ‘heads down’ and into study and homework to complete internals and all long-term research standards, as well as comprehensive study for external examinations. It makes no sense at all for teachers to give up their holiday time only to have young people in this last part of the year fritter away any possible study time.

    Study means using exercise notes, text books, on-line exemplars from NZQA, old examination papers and the answers, creating mind maps, using keywords and definitions and doing the hours of practice required to gain competency in the questions.

    Do not let your students say to you that they don’t have the notes. They can buy study notes if they have not bothered to take any – there are many available from school or any good bookstore such as Whitcoulls

    Senior Students—End of Classes

    Senior classes will finish shortly – the last day for senior teaching will be 6th November, when Year 11 and 12 students will be released at lunchtime to go directly home. Should your son or daughter be a bus student then, rather than them be tempted to behave in a silly manner on the school grounds while they wait for their bus, I would appreciate it sincerely if alternative transport could be arranged for them for that day.

    The Year 13 students will be having a BBQ lunch and activities designed to entertain and celebrate their contribution to our school for the last five years. It is their last day of school and we would like to honour them as the seniors in this school, without the silly behaviour and pranks levelled at them by any other students.

    Study

    We have a busy schedule of tutorials and extra teaching going on until all examinations have finished. I will review the need for home study shortly and advise all students whether or not I will grant them home study. All other students will remain at school and continue to gain credits and finish work required to pass internals and on-going project work. This is just common sense.

    Students and Out of School Employment

    The last comment I need to make about study, school and study leave is that of employment.

    The Education Act 1989 makes it an offence for any student enrolled in secondary school to be employed in any workplace between the hours of 8.45am and 3.15pm, inside the school term.

    If your son or daughter has sat all examinations, completed all work required by staff and has done all the work possible to pass the curriculum level, then I will be happy to write a permission note for employment. Should I find any student working during the time they should be completing work for studies or study for examinations, then I will immediately contact employers and advise of the law and take the matter further if I have no other option.

    I will do all I can to encourage and insist that young people put their education first. I am happy to support every parent who is having difficulty with young people insisting on their rights to make the wrong choices.

     

    Ka Kite Ano 

    Mrs Joanne Hutt   – Principal