Principal’s Address 14th June 201914th Jun 2019
Kia Ora Tatou
This week has been a busy and interesting week for me at South Otago High School. Mid week both Mrs Jory and myself were asked to present to invited principals in the Otago region our journey so far with PB4L. Our audience was greater than anticipated with teachers and senior leaders from a number of schools present.
In preparation for our talk I was forced to reflect upon what we have achieved. Since starting PB4L just over two years ago we have seen a significant drop in poor student behaviour. This statement is supported by evidence of significantly fewer discipline incidents being recorded. This can not be dismissed when surveys of students and staff are showing that the atmosphere in school is improved.
It was a pleasure to share with the audience some of the anecdotes both Mrs Jory and myself have seen about the school. We are seeing improved students involvement in school.
Me and My School
In late 2016 we surveyed the Y9 and 10 students about their opinions in school. Whilst this was only for a small sample of students it did present a picture of how students perceived life at South Otago High School. Recently we have repeated the survey with the current Y9+10 students. The results have shown that more students look forward to coming to school and feel proud of their school. Importantly, nearly 90% report feeling safe at school which is a significant improvement. This, I believe, is a reflection in the change of culture at the school. Similarly there are improvements in student perception of respect for themselves and their families culture. Students also feel confident about contributing to class discussion and that their opinion is valued.
Interesting to note that many of the gains and improvements that we are seeing at South Otago High School are a contradiction to the national trends.
An area for development continues to be students taking more care with homework and engaging with reading beyond their own studies. This can be improved with the help and support from home.
This week marks the half way through the senior courses. It is worthwhile, that following parent teacher interviews and the live reports that students and parents take time to review progress towards the NCEA certificate for this year. Mentors will also be encouraging reflection for students on their progress so far. Our aim is to ensure that all students achieve or exceed the goals that they set at the start of the year.
I am pleased to report that negotiations between the secondary teachers and the government appear to be making positive progress. This morning teachers have been informed of an offer and I would expect that teachers will be making a decision as to whether they will accept the current offer.
Whilst these negotiations are being conducted it does mean that proposed industrial action for next week has been suspended. I would hope that by next week we will have a clearer picture and more information on the pay and conditions negotiations.
Young Enterprise Scheme
Last year a group of students set up and ran a small business. The students created a childrens book ‘Patrick the Penguin’s Birthday Adventure’ which were sold locally. For each book sold a proportion of the sale was collected to be given as a donation to Ronald Macdonald House. This week we received a wonderful e-mail acknowledging the students donation of $400 to this organisation.
This week saw the return of the Clutha Sports Awards. Amongst the nominees were past and present students. However I am pleased to congratulate Kaya Laban (Y12) as the Junior Sportswoman. Well done to Kaya and we look forward to seeing your future success.
Have a good weekend.
Ka kite ano
Mr Mike Wright