Thursday, 3 November 2016

1. Principal's News - Week 4 Term 4 2016

Survey Results
Thank you for the many thoughtful replies I had to our parent surveys.  I purposely did not ask quantifiable questions – questions I could easily measure.  I was more interested in hearing parent voice and giving you the opportunity to say things that I might not even have thought of.  So thank you for your honesty.

Staff, parents and students have inputted into our understanding on respect.  We seem to be on the same page. licensed for reuse
In a nutshell, respect is about treating people the way you would like to be treated, looking for the good in people and supporting each other to be better in a way which makes us feel valued.  We all agree on that and I’m very pleased to see an overall lift in the way the children are speaking to each other and to the adults and how we are all treating each other.  Sometimes we do need to give tough feedback but we've reflected on that and this is a good little meme to run with:

Working Well
You wrote lots about what is working well, which is encouraging.  I've pulled out the main nouns into this "Wordle," - the size of the word depends on how many people mentioned it. 

Areas for improvement
I did the same about areas for improvement and there is a fairly clear picture which definitely gives us good input into future plans.  I will share this with you on our Family Learning Hui on 25th November.

Year 8 Leadership
There was a general feeling that leadership should be earned and not everyone needs or wants a leadership role.   Most thought a termly changeover was too much but a half year changeover might work, to give others a chance.  There was a strong feeling that children should not just be awarded for achievement but for effort and service.

Many suggested applying for it like a job with a CV, referees and interviews etc which is exactly what we already do.

For this year, the process will remain unchanged as it would not be fair to our present year 7's to suddenly change the playing field.  The system is:
  • All children write a CV and apply for a leadership role
  • The children can provide referees to vouch for them
  • They are interviewed by the principal and deputy principal and these people choose the positions in consultation with the people the children have put forward as referees.
All leadership roles are meaningful -  every year 8 is acknowledged as a leader due to their seniority (sort of like being a parent, your position makes you a leader like or not).  We will make sure they all have a meaningful role that is needed.  So as well as the nominal head leaders, all year 8's will have to take on some role of responsibility/leadership in the school e.g. peer mediation, road patrol, junior school wet lunch supervision etc.  We want to underline that service is also a form of leadership and in any community the senior members provide both service and leadership.

I will be looking at some sort of cumulative system of recognition based on service and application over a broad range of areas as discussed in the survey.  As many of you noted we don't only recognise achievement - we want to recognise effort, growth-mindset and raising one's personal best.  That will be for next year.

I will summarise your educational goals and what you want from our intermediate department in the next news blog.  Please note we have an intermediate information evening on 23rd November.


We are a Sunsmart accredited school and we have been talking about this.  Skin cancer is a very real threat in New Zealand and most of us will know someone who has been affected by it.  We can avoid it by wearing hats and using sunscreen.  Please, please, please make sure your child has a hat at school and we will do our utmost to make sure they wear it outside at all times.

We are purchasing a large tub of sunscreen per class and we will encourage children to put it on their arms and backs of their necks (for those with short hair) before lunchtime.  The children do of course spend more time with you than us, so the message has to be consistent at home too for them to take this seriously and automatically seek sun protection when they get to the stage of making their own choices.

St Kevin's Prize giving
We were very impressed to see so many of our students achieving so highly at St Kevin's College at their senior prize-giving last night.  Congratulations to:

Adam Sew Hoy       - Head Boy 2017
Kalas Takaumo        - Deputy Head Boy 2017
Harriet Hanning       - Deputy Head Girl 2017
Adam Sew Hoy       - The Rotary Club of Oamaru for 1st Aggregate Year 12
Thomas Pickles       - Yr 13 Christian Leadership - Br BJ Lauren Cup
Jino Kunnethedan    - University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship
Matthew Cullimore - University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship
Ashley Pink             - University of Otago Alumni Appeal Entrance Scholarship
Gypsy-Mae Harihona-Harrison - University of Victoria Excellence Award
Anna Craig - Junior Application and Participation - Langley Cup
Matthew Cullimore - Senior Application and Participation - McCarthy Plate
Rebecca Whittet - Junior General Excellence - Bill Nolan Cup
Gypsy-Mae Harihona-Harrison - College Captains Teschemakers Trophy
Gypsy-Mae Harihona-Harrison - Mana Pounamu Teina Award
Reuben Mihaere, Kalas Takaumo, Sebastian Russ, Jack Souness, Mark Xie, Levi Sherman, Hamish McAtamney, Alex Gonzales, Brinkley Botting, Antonio Misiloi, Matt Brien (MVP)
The boys basketball team won the national schools competition - we're proud to boast 7 of the players are ex St Joseph's students
Well done to all of our students and ex-students, we are so proud of the way you Reach for the Stars as Lifelong Learners in the Catholic Faith.

God bless,
Lorraine Frances-Rees

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