Principal’s Address 24th November 201724th Nov 2017
Kia Ora Tatou
A couple of weeks ago in the newsletter I thanked the families for their participation in the recent consultation. In the last two weeks I have been working with the senior leadership team and we have been further developing the plans for next year. Based upon the feedback received we will be making significant changes to our Friday organisation. This includes:
¨ Improved counselling for students to support appropriate course selection.
¨ Compulsory courses over the senior years to prepare students for life beyond school
¨ Improved opportunities for students to gain credits or to raise personal achievement.
In addition in 2018 we will be changing the timing of the day, however we will be continuing with the late start as the value for staff professional development is too great to dismiss.
This week a group of senior South Otago High School students featured in the Otago Daily Times acknowledging their work which was completed as part of the Friday options in 2017. The students had painted a mural from Clutha Views. I have also been hearing about some of our senior students who have been volunteering their time to work with students at Balclutha Primary School, assisting with the junior swim programme. It is great that our young people make the most of these opportunities and the school is keen to support and encourage this community involvement
During the community consultation I was made aware of parents who condoned student absence, particularly on a Friday. I would expect, with the changes that we will be making that this will not happen in 2018. As I have indicated in the newsletter previously, students who are absent from school are less likely to succeed. Although seniors may have their credits, there is a real benefit for students who achieve Merit or Excellence endorsements at NCEA. This is particularly true when working at Level 2 and 3 where there can be preferential entry into courses and even financial rewards for students who gain an endorsement.
We would like to make parents/caregivers aware that the Ministry of Education has changed some of the codes for attendance. It is under their direction that our attendance is recorded for our students.
The changes are as follows:
- NO information provided (‘or throw away explanation’) will now be recorded as ‘T’ for truant.
- Justified Absence – reason for absence is within school policy.
Confucius Institute Awards
Last Friday I attended the Confucius Institute awards held in Dunedin and hosted by the University of Canterbury. Tessa Dix (Y13) was awarded the outstanding student award and I received, on behalf of South Otago High School, the Confucius Institute Classroom of the Year Award. These are great achievements for our school and it was a pleasure to attend this event.
With Junior exams completed teachers are now working to complete reports which will be issued at the end of the year. Students will now be starting to get excited about the opportunities available for the Activity Days. If any family is struggling with the cost of the selected activity please do speak to the teacher in charge to see what help is available to pay for activities is available.
Ka kite ano