Principal’s Address 22nd May 202022nd May 2020
Kia Ora Tatou
It has been great to welcome students and staff back to working on site at South Otago High School. I was very impressed that we had an attendance rate of 97% on the first day and I feel this is a reflection by the community upon what we are doing and we are doing all that we can to protect student/ staff and community health and well being.
For students in class there has been a focus on the three R’s:
- Re-ignition and engagement in face to face learning
During the week we have adhered to our expectations with students being off site by 4pm and will continue with this for next week.
Changes to NCEA for 2020
At the end of last week NZQA announced changes to the assessment practices for 2020 to offer opportunities for students to maintain their studies and have the best possible chance of success. This means that the exam leave and senior study leave will not commence until mid November. This is a benefit to students and will support them as they strive for success as they plan their next steps for 2021.
Being prepared to learn
We have this week been providing students who have been using a family shared device for learning during the lock down with a sanitized chrome book for which they will be responsible. The school has maintained a record of who has a loan device and we will be collecting these back into school once we are operating under more ‘normal’ conditions.
However, what has been a concern has been students arriving at school for learning without essential equipment such as a pen, pencil or calculator for maths. Under the present conditions the school is not able to loan this equipment to students. Nor do we wish students to borrow from their peers. This is, once again, to limit the potential spread of any infection. It is an individual student’s responsibility to arrive at school prepared with the right equipment and right attitude to learn.
Unfortunately, as this week finishes we are no closer to announcing when we will be able to commence with co-curricular sport. An announcement of the Covid-19 Alert Level 2 review is expected on Monday 25 May. Please allow the school next week to organize the plans for practices and games to be organized as we work with regional sporting bodies. In the meantime the school fields are closed from 4pm and any students who opt to arrange informal practices should adhere to the rules of groups of no more than 10 including supporters and officials.
Hearing from students and parents it has been obvious that a large number of students have wanted to come back to school. Often it is not just because of the learning but also because of wanting to see their friends. It is clear that Facebook and other social media are not a replacement for genuine human contact and friendship. I would like to think that the lockdown will be an opportunity for all of us to re-set our values and realise that Facebook ‘Friends’ do not have the same value as meeting and seeing people who are dear to us. That we will, in the future, place a higher importance and value to speaking and interacting with people in the flesh rather than online
Whilst we have not been able to hold full school assemblies we have set a roster for house group assemblies where we can distance students in the main school hall. This week the focus has been to congratulate those students who celebrated a birthday during the lock down. This is a special one off for these students as they will have missed the normal interactions with their friends during this time.
Our other focus has been on the importance of getting the best education possible. In these uncertain times we know that the job market is going to become increasingly competitive. We want our students to be aware of the need for qualifications and training beyond high school. We expect to make our students the best possible candidates for the jobs which they will be seeking in the future. It is important that families continue to support this goal as we work together.
Ka Kite Ano