Principal’s message – Mid-Term 1, 2019

I hope your young person is settled into their classes and school routine and that they are setting themselves up for success this year. Our Year 9 cohort is the largest in many years with the roll nearing 1300 for the first time since I joined WHS. It is fantastic to see the community embracing coeducation at secondary level. Your increased support is an endorsement that a school should be a reflection of the society we live in. The increased roll places some pressures on us all, not least with some larger junior classes, and it is satisfying to see students settled well into the new academic year.

At the start of the year, we acquaint/reacquaint ourselves with WHS’s cornerstone priorities based around the māori word WERO. WERO means ‘challenge’. Its letters represent our core strategic priorities. W is for Whānau. Education is a partnership between the school and family. We have the greatest success when we are all working together. When we speak of whānau we mean this in the broadest community sense: we are looking after all of our students to ensure everyone is given a fair, even chance of success and that no one is left behind. E represents Excellence. Excellence is not confined to academic achievement but represents everyone giving their best and achieving to their own personal level of excellence. Excellence is not confined to academic areas and includes sporting, cultural, social and personal excellence. R is for Respect. Respectful relationships should be at the core of everything we do and want our young people to acquire. R can also represent relational teaching practice and how this shows the importance of good relationships. And R can represent restorative practice because when things go wrong it is important to try and repair harm that may have been caused. O stands for Ora representing physical and emotional wellbeing. We all need quality of life and we need to actively take steps to look after ourselves and others. When I think of Ora I think of the airline safety videos that talk about looking after ourselves first before helping others when the oxygen mask drops down from overhead. It is the same with Ora. We need to look after our own wellbeing to be in a position to look after others.

On 14 February our WERO leaders and DP Megan Southwell, ran ‘Aroha Day’: an opportunity for students to find out about sporting and cultural activities and sign up to something that interested them. It was great to see students signing up for so many opportunities enthusiastically. I hope that these initial commitments turn into enjoyable and rewarding experiences throughout the year.

As you read this, our students will have just be finishing competing in our annual Athletics Day. I hope this provides a positive fun day for all of those who compete and helps to engender a stronger sense of pride in our great school. You will be able to read about the event in next week’s Wrap Up.

On Friday 29 March we will run our first learning conversations for the year. The emphasis will be on how students can gain the requisite learning competencies to build success. These key competencies are an important part of our NZ curriculum and are: thinking; using language, symbols and text; managing self; relating to others; and participating and contributing. They all contribute to how a student prepares for and engages in learning.

Through the media you may have heard that a student strike in support of a worldwide day of action over global warming is planned for Friday 15 March. Some of our students have expressed an interest in attending and publicity material has been circulating at school and online. The action is a global initiative expected to bring thousands of students onto the streets worldwide.

In Wellington students will be meeting in Civic Square at 10am and marching to Parliament. We anticipate that students who participate will be out of school for the day. If your young person wants to support this action please notify us as soon as possible. Although the school supports students who wish to use this day to take this action, we do not support those that may use this issue as an excuse for a day off with no intention of being involved in the positive action being planned.

Ngā mihi nui

Dominic Killalea

 

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