South Otago High School

South Otago High School

Quality Education in a Supportive Community

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  • Principal’s Address 2nd November 2018

    2nd Nov 2018

    Dear Parents/Caregivers

    Kia Ora Tatou

    This week has been really exciting and the highlight for me has been the Cultural Competition on Tuesday afternoon. I reflected with the students the significant growth in student leadership as each house group stood to perform. Whilst acknowledging that the school was well supported when the cultural competition was first introduced it is great to see students lead their rehearsals with the support of staff.

    The performance from each house was superb. The students demonstrated pride in the culture of Aotearoa, New Zealand and their school. Worthy of special mention are those students who lead their houses in the Haka and Waiata. It is hard not to be proud of the young leaders of the future in the making!

    Another exciting development is the commencement of the work to re-develop the Music Rooms to create a new Performing Arts Suite. This project has been on the books since I arrived three years ago! It is exciting to see the builders on site and the work starting.

    Fire alarm activation

    Whilst the cultural competition was under way we did have a fire alarm activation. This was as a result of dust from the building work triggering the smoke sensors and fire alarm activation. As a result the school was evacuated and the attendance checked. There was no damage or harm caused to the school and this was a genuine accident on behalf of the builders who have accepted full responsibility. I have made it clear that this cannot happen again especially as we have senior exams about to start. They have assured me that they have taken precautions to prevent another activation of this nature.

    Attendance

    Because of the evacuation we did note a number of students who were absent. Text messages were sent to advise parents. Some parents acknowledged that their son/daughter was ‘at home’. These students have not followed the school procedure of signing out and are treated as truant.

    I would like to make clear that had this been a fire, the school would not be able to confirm to the fire service that all staff and students were accounted for so there would be the potential for volunteer fire fighters to be entering burning buildings looking for students who were ‘at home’. I am sure that you will appreciate that this behaviour is not acceptable and will support the school when managing the consequences.

    PUM

    On Friday 9 November there will be a paid union meeting for teachers. As with the meeting in June this year we will be starting school at 08:40 and have two, ninety minute lessons and then release students at 12:00. A letter with the full details will be sent home early next week.

    Last day for seniors

    This week I have spoken to the senior students about appropriate behaviour for their last day. As we prepare for senior students to depart for study leave I have emphasised that they have good, positive relationships with their teachers and peers. We expect that our departing students will maintain this positive level of conduct. I have made it clear that water pistols and water balloons will not be tolerated and will be held for collection at the end of the year!

    For the last few years I have enjoyed the tasteful and respectful way students have finished their last day. I would very much like to see this to continue.

    Senior study leave

    Students will now be aware if they are required to attend school to catch up on missed credits. Our aim is to ensure that all students are successful this year in gaining their NCEA certificates. I expect parents to support the school by ensuring that students arrive on time, in uniform with a clear plan to work and complete their assessments. As soon as they have the necessary credits then they may join their peers on study leave.

    Activities days

    Year 9 and 10 students should now have their confirmed activities. Parents, please make every effort to make sure that students attend their selected activities. The budget for these activities is based upon the numbers who have selected the activity. If, as the date draws closer, your son/ daughter wishes to change their option please make sure that you communicate this with the teachers in charge.

    Water Only November

    ‘Water Only Month’ has started and I for one am going to make a real effort to cut down on the copious quantities of tea that I normally drink. I do encourage students, families and whanau to get behind this initiative as there are great health benefits!

    Finally

    Next week is the final week for senior classes. I look forward to the Senior Prize giving event where student achievement is acknowledged. In addition we will also be announcing the head students for 2019. I look forward to seeing the students going across the stage and meeting parents after the event.

    Ka kite ano

    Mike Wright

    Principal