South Otago High School

South Otago High School

Quality Education in a Supportive Community

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  • Principal’s Address 12th March 2020

    12th Mar 2020

    Dear Parents/Caregivers

    Kia Ora Tatou

    This week has been a little quieter than usual with half the Year 10 students being away at Tautuku along with a number of Year 13 students who are supporting them. More on the camp in this newsletter.

    About school the progress on the redevelopment of the Pomahaka Block continues and we are starting to look at new furniture and equipment ready for when we move back in. I am currently consulting with staff and students as to what they would like to see the new facilities equipped with.

     Special assessment conditions and dyslexia testing

    Teachers are being asked to identify students who they believe may benefit from special assessment conditions (SAC) in the forthcoming NCEA assessments. I am aware that a number of families are also being proactive in gathering evidence to support SAC applications. Such assessments for learning difficulties, which may be conducted outside of school, may come at a financial cost to families. NZQA require that assessors have very specific qualification for such assessment reports to be valid and acceptable. Parents can ask assessors if the report they will be given is acceptable evidence for NZQA to confirm SAC.

    Before proceeding with any sort of assessment I strongly encourage parents to contact the school to determine what information is required. Also what evidence is acceptable to NZQA who will approve or decline an application. At school please contact either:

    Amanda Smith (NZQA Principal Nominee)

    Keren Wright (Learning Support Teacher)

    Parents may also like to read the information provided by NZQA at:

    https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/providers-partners/assessment-and-moderation-of-standards/managing-national-assessment-in-schools/special-assessment-conditions/info-for-parents-caregivers/what-are-sacs/

     Complaints procedure

    Each year Mrs Bloxham visits each of the mentor groups to discuss the South Otago High School complaints procedure. During the last week she has met with about half of the mentor groups with remainder scheduled for the next week or so. In this newsletter we have provided a copy of the complaints procedure for parents to refer to in case they have any concerns that they wish to raise.

     Pandemic plan

    Our school staff and leadership remain well prepared for the possibility there might be a case in our community. If that were to occur we are confident we can put our plans in place and know we will be supported by regional health authorities and the Ministry of Education.

    This week I have spent time talking to students about how they can best protect themselves against infections and also what we are doing as a school to preserve their health and well being.

    I am sure you are all keen to do what you can to prevent risk of infection. The best preventative steps are:

    • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments (no sharing of drink bottles, spitting etc.)
    • stay home when you are sick and seek medical attention
    • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the rubbish
    • get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

    You may also be interested to know that research published by the World Health Organisation notes that children and young people under 18 account for only 2.4% of all reported cases of Covid-19. This means we are unlikely to see widespread cases in schools and early learning services in New Zealand.

    The Ministry of Health’s current advice is that with continued vigilance, the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low. So we all have a role here to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

    Our school values continue to play an important part in all our activities.  A reminder they are Respect, Excellence and Perseverance. It is so important we continue to care for and support all members of our school community, especially those who may be impacted by Covid-19 in some way.

    Shave for a Cure

    Each year a number of students and some staff help raise funds for Cancer Research by participating in the Shave for a Cure by having their heads shaved. Next Tuesday lunchtime a number of staff and students will be getting their heads shaved and I expect that a lot of other staff and students will be supporting them.

    Friday 20 March is Super Hero Day!

    As part of our support for Downs Syndrome in our community, staff and students will be participating in the superhero dress up day. Students can choose to dress as a super hero for the day and pay a donation to support Downs syndrome association. The following is a message from the Dawson family from Balclutha

     Ups Day – Awareness Around Down Syndrome
    Friday 20th March, come dressed as a superhero whoever that may be for you: Spider Man, Batman, Superwoman, Elsa, Ana …. for the older kids it maybe the Silver Ferns, the All Blacks or Michael Jordan. Whoever your super hero is, come dressed as them on Friday 20th March! 

    Normally Down Syndrome is celebrated by wearing odd socks (for the odd number of chromosomes our kids carry) but we wanted to put a positive spin on the day, celebrate them and help people realise that, yes, our kids with Down Syndrome (or what I like to call Ups) come with some unique stuff, but they also just want to be accepted like you & me. So please join with us to celebrate!  All of the donations will go to the Otago Down Syndrome Association, who do great things for bringing awareness around Down Syndrome!
    Happy Ups day! 

     Originally published in the Otago Down Syndrome newsletter (6 March 2020)

    Year 10 camp

    This week has seen the Year 10 students travel to Tautuku for the annual camp. The first group of the week did have some very mixed weather and I enjoyed meeting students on Tuesday evening. Despite the wet weather during Tuesday all the students were in good spirits and thoroughly enjoying the activities. Special mention to the senior students who assist with this camp and do a fantastic job assisting staff and running some activities as well as balance their own studies at school.

    I plan to visit the second group before the return on Friday.

    Finally

    As I have said in previous newsletters as the weather becomes cooler it is important that students prepare to have the correct uniform to combat the cold and wet. Once again we are seeing the trend of the navy ‘Back Country’ jersey’s coming into school and being worn in place of the school jersey. These are not part of the uniform and should not be worn to school. Students will be asked to remove them. As parents, please support the school by maintaining a high standard of uniform and do not give in to pressure from students when they say ‘It will be ok’

    Have a great weekend.

    Ka kite ano

    Mike Wright

    Principal