Friday, 6 August 2021

Principal's News Term 3 Week 2 2021

Stranger Danger

When I was a child we were very aware of "stranger danger."  That basically meant, don't talk to adults at the park who you don't know, don't take lollies from strangers, and don't get into people's cars.

Now, stranger danger is a whole new thing and any child with a phone or device is constantly engaging with strangers.  Many of these strangers are posing as other children or young people but they are not.  Our young people are smart in their own ways, and the new generation has a savviness of their own that we may never fully understand, but despite everything we tell them, it is very hard for them to see through the smokescreen of an intelligent and devious adult with their own agenda.  Please have a look at your children's devices and the conversations they are having.

The other danger is the level of cruelty in what people say to each other in written form.  Most people are good-hearted and can see if they've said something hurtful and regret it instantly.  Online you can't see the results and again, even though the children are smart in their own way, and are good people, they can't see the effects of their actions and this can lead to extreme hurt.

I was very concerned about this earlier in the year, and continue to be concerned.  I used to write in the blog advising to keep children off social media which is restricted to 13 years and above, but that's a losing battle.  Given that once they have a device or phone they will find their way onto these things, the adults have to take steps to actively monitor what they are doing. 

Earlier this year I contacted Rob and Zareen Cope to see if they would do something for our school parents but the cost was huge.  Then I found out many other schools in Oamaru were doing the same thing and as a result, we are able to offer you a Cyber Safety Evening at Waitaki Boys' HIgh school on Monday 13th September.  It is offered by most of the schools in Oamaru and we are grateful to Waitaki Boys for hosting it.  If your child has a phone/device or is likely to get one you really need to go to this.  Please mark it in your diary as a must as no-one, no matter how good or careful they are, is fully immune to this.

We are getting underway with our science learning.  Science is one of my personal favorites and I have had the pleasure of working with the Intermediate department.  This week they have learnt about atomic structure, how atomic structure affects conductivity, how atoms form molecules, and why, and they have done some basic molecular modeling.  Some groups were successful in creating the C6H12O6 molecule, better known as glucose, the building block of life and the substance created as a result of photosynthesis in plants.  We are doing some basic chemistry and physics to help us later in the term when we consider our native planting and some features we might incorporate into a living landscape at St Joseph's.  

A reminder that we have teacher only days coming up:

We are closed on Monday 30th August for a teacher only day

We are also closed on Friday 17th September for a teacher-only day.  The intermediate department will still go to St Kevin's' for technology on that morning but will need to be picked up or make their own way home after that.  I am sorry for any inconvenience that this causes.  The reason for the close is every three years our diocese puts on training for all Catholic teachers and every primary school in the diocese closes.

Student-led Conferences
It was great to see so many families turn out with their students for the student-led conferences this week. The vibe was very positive and the teachers appreciated the time to talk with you.

Lockdown Drill
We did a lockdown drill this week and the children are fantastic at it.  They were out of sight, silent and inaccessible within 30 seconds.  We do this drill a couple of times a year and it's just a normal thing for the children and so if we ever need to do it they will be able to do it without panic.  Even for the five-year-olds, when they see their peers taking this in their stride and doing it as normal, it becomes their normal too.  If you turn up as a visitor during this time you will find the front entrance open but all the sections of the building are locked and you won't be able to get in and the office won't respond.  If that is the case I advise you wait in your car until you hear more.  In a real lockdown, I would send an email message via my phone to all parents so that you know it is happening.  It is another reason why we would also like you to sign in when you come to school please.  I can't publish our lockdown procedure but if you are working at school as a parent help please check with staff that you know what to do if there was a lockdown.  Many thanks.

We have been chosen by the Ministry to be a model school for a tsunami drill in October and the Minister will be visiting us and we will be televised practicing our tsunami drill.  I will keep you updated with more details about this when it happens.  And God willing, I will be able to easily walk up the hill with everyone else by October (the alternative is drowning in a pretend tsunami)!

God Bless and Aroha

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