Principals Address – 31 January 201431st Jan 2014
Tena Koutou Katoa
Welcome Back. I hope that you are all well rested and ready for the start of what will be, as usual, a very busy year. A very warm welcome to all our new students and staff. We currently have 508 enrolled students, up from 484 in 2013.
Due to some staff leaving us and our roll growth I would like to welcome our new staff:
Mr Paul McDowall – Senior Management as one of the three Deputy Principals
Mr Rui Li – Chemistry teacher
Mr David Thomas – Outdoor Education
Mr Greg Familton – Economics and Mathematics
Ms Natasha Boon – Art
Ms Ella Smith – Mathematics
Ms Hannah Sim – Social Sciences
Mr Stephen Newnham – Technology
Mrs Joanna Davies – ESOL and Migrant Teaching
I would like to congratulate our senior students on our provisional NZQA results. The final results will be published after 27th February 2014, this allows for some students who have missed the target to achieve the level by doing some additional study.
L1 Pass Rate was 85% (up from 66%)
L2 Pass Rate was 74% (up from 74%)
L3 Pass Rate was 52% (down from 67%)
Clearly our concentration this year will be on the academic performance of our Year 13 students. In light of this need, the school has refurbished and renamed the Year 13 Common room. It is now to be known as the Year 13 Study Room. It has been stripped, painted, carpeted and refurbished into a large, light modern learning environment. It will have computers and study carrels and provide a purpose built area for our senior students to use their study periods productively.
Our work on raising academic performance continues with particular emphasis on gaining Merit and Excellence endorsements and raising the achievement of our boys. With this in mind we have made provision for all staff to undertake professional development in our areas of need. This is timetabled for Wednesday morning from 8.40 – 9.40am. School will remain open, buses will arrive at the normal time.
Undertaking ongoing training at the start of the day when staff are rested is the ideal for all schools. Many schools around New Zealand have similar programmes and have no issues with behaviour or supervision with their students. I fully expect we will find the same here at SOHS.
Changes to Timetable
The school day has also been changed to optimise learning and minimise behaviour issues. Again, this has been done with full consideration of the educational research around school day structure.
The times are as follows:
Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri:
8.45am Warning Bell
8.50am First Period
9.50am Form Time
10.00am Second Period
11.25am Warning Bell
11.30am Third Period
12.30pm Fourth Period
2.05pm Warning Bell
2.10pm Fifth Period
3.10pm End of day
On Wednesday the day will start at 9.40am and classes will be reduced by 5 minutes.
Moving into a day with two periods of time, interval and lunch of near similar length means a shift in the eating habits of the students. Most students will eat ‘lunch’ at the new lengthened interval time. Please make sure your son/daughter has more food for the first couple of weeks until the adjustment is made.
A reminder to all parents and caregivers to make all dentist, physio appointments and holidays outside of the school day or term.
The last two weeks of every term will always have internal assessment opportunities which, if missed for any reason than the written criteria from NZQA, will miss out on gaining those credits. This is a mandated regulation by the NZQA and out of any school’s jurisdiction.
78% of our school community paid the school donation in 2013. All non-compulsory subject workbooks, equipment and material costs will be charged for. If school costs have been an issue for you in 2013, please see Mrs Shanks in the school office to set up a painless automatic payment.
We rely on and budget for 100% of our school donation so we really need you, as our community, to support us with this financial contribution.
Again, welcome back, it is great to be starting a new year with the enthusiastic, well-mannered, friendly and cooperative young people of South Otago.
Ka Kite Ano
Mrs Joanne Hutt