South Otago High School

South Otago High School

Quality Education in a Supportive Community

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  • Principals Address – 14 February 2014

    18th Feb 2014

    Tena Koutou Katoa

    Thank You to the Community
    I would like to begin this newsletter by thanking you, our community, for your support over my initiative to provide time and support for our teachers to work collaboratively on areas of need in our school. The Professional Development programme began this last Wednesday and was well received by the staff.

    I met the bus and local students as they arrived at school and directed them to the hall for supervision which, for the next fortnight, will be homework completion and silent reading. I was very impressed by the way 100 students simply settled down to the request and got on with it.

    I told the students why this time is needed for our staff and explained that I wanted the staff to have the first three weeks of term in their Professional Learning Groups before I take a group out every week to help run other options, such as swimming, for the students.

    My plan is that all students requiring supervision from 8.30am to 9.40am will continue to come to the hall for reading and homework for the next two weeks. I will gather the names of students who wish to use the gym, music room, computer room etc over the next two weeks and we will then have lists of students committed to various options. I will then communicate this with parents.

    Great Start to the Year

    We have got off to a great start this year; ID, class, sports and leadership photos have been completed, timetables and classes have been settled, staffing has been finalised and many of the classrooms and buildings have had much needed maintenance. The Year 9’s have been off to Greenpark for a day of bonding and teamwork, the Peer mediators and support students have been selected and trained, our Student Council have been selected and badged and today we announce the House Group Leaders. I would like to congratulate all of our students who volunteer for these important leadership roles in our school.

    The mentoring and modelling we get from these young men and women plays a very big part in setting the culture of the whole school. Peer pressure and peer expectation is a powerful influence in all organisations. As I look at the way in which our Year 13 students have settled to the new purpose of the Study Hub, their uniform, attendance in assembly, class and general physical presence around the school grounds, I feel very confident that we are in for a highly engaged and academically successful year. Again, congratulations to all of our young leaders.

    Cyber Safety Evening

    I would like to recommend to you all the Cyber Safety presentation being run by Rosebank school on 17th February.

    The misuse of cell phones with texts, snap chat, internet social media sites such as Tumblr, askfm, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, cause absolute mayhem in schools across the country – including us. The harm that this overt bullying causes has led to a great deal of unhappiness, school refusal and parental anguish – in NZ, USA, UK it has led directly to youth suicide.

    As parents we must monitor and protect our young people from using these unnecessary tools – particularly while they are minors and therefore, emotionally immature.

    Already this year I have had to deal with this cyber abuse in the form of ‘screen shot’ saved snap- chats. The laws have changed around this type of bullying and I now direct all instances of this type of nasty, abusive bullying directly to the Police to take action.
    There are some students at this school who are not permitted to bring a cell phone to school at all. No student is permitted to use a cell phone in class time and I ask that you support the school’s stand on this matter. The consequence of a repeated offence will be to hold the student’s cell phone until a parent can make an appointment to discuss the issue and collect the phone personally from me.

    Academic Results

    I will report on our confirmed senior academic data after the end of the month, but want to warmly congratulate all senior students and junior students who met or exceeded their SOAP scores. Well done for making it happen (and to Mum and Dad at home for encouraging study and homework).

    Appointments

    As I review the process of signing out of school I am concerned at the already high number of dentist, doctor and physio appointments students are leaving school for. As I walked past a class earlier this week I overheard the teacher introduce the work of the period – an assessment. I remind parents that under the NZQA regulations, re-sits or second attempts at assessments are very tightly controlled. All students will have their course outlines which will specify when their assessment dates are. Missed assessments are difficult to make up. Please do your best to get all appointments outside class hours – use the 8.30 – 9.40 hour on Wednesday mornings!

    Should you wish to contact me please email me on principal@sohs.school.nz

    Ka Kite Ano
    Mrs Joanne Hutt
    Principal