South Otago High School

South Otago High School

Quality Education in a Supportive Community

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  • Principals Address – 7 March 2014

    7th Mar 2014

    Tena Koutou Katoa

    The Professional Learning Groups that the staff are involved with on Wednesday mornings from 8.30 to 9.40am are continuing with good support from all teachers. The focus for these groups are:

    • Raising boys’ achievement
    • Raising the percentage of Merit and Excellence grades
    • The Art of Teaching – what does best practise look like?
    • He Kakano – working towards Maori inclusiveness in our teaching
    • Knowledge Building – a digital classroom of learners

    In these groups the staff look at the research around the focus and then use a process called ‘Teaching as Inquiry’, where they identify a group of students in one of their classes and gather the data around achievement they currently present with. The teacher then develops a teaching method or intervention that will significantly change that achievement. They teach this way using the intervention and then at the end of the cycle – they re-evaluate.

    As a staff we then come together and present our findings to each other – what worked, what didn’t, what to do to improve the intervention. We will do this at a Teacher Only day at the end of Term 2. If we want to make improvements to our young people’s achievement then we need to do things differently – this is working smarter, not harder.

    I have emailed you before to thank you for supporting this initiative – I now need you to be vigilant about where your young person is at this time. I do not want numbers of young people down town, in the shops or wandering around. If you send them to school, then they need to front up and be present.

    I am meeting the bus students and they are reporting straight to the hall, where I am organising them for gym training, sports, library, dancing, reading, computers etc. They are actively engaged in activities. Some students have tried to get off the bus at St Joseph’s – I now have an adult on that bus to prevent this happening.

    It is not ok for us to allow our young people to go along with a friend to that friend’s grandmother – frankly they are not going to Gran’s house at all. I will be taking a roll this week and emailing the list of all students present to you as a community. If your young person is not on the list then you need to take action – they are legally your responsibility in this hour when the school is actually closed for tuition.

    I am being pro-active here – trying to prevent any problems that might occur should the numbers of students pretending to be at school when they are not, increase. Together we can keep our kids safe and improve the quality of teaching and learning in this great little school.

    Ka Kite Ano
    Mrs Joanne Hutt
    Principal