It is hard to believe that we are already in the latter part of term 1 2018. There has been a lot going on and a lot of student success over a wide range of areas. If you are a regular reader of the weekly updates you will already know this.
In a couple of weekly updates in the latter part of last year I asked for your feedback on our new strategic plan which we were putting in place for 2018 onwards. Thank you to those who were able to respond. The Board, the Senior Leadership team, staff and groups of students spent time putting the strategic plan together during terms 2, 3 and 4 last year. Essentially it was a chance for us to align our plan with our practice. WERO has gained strong traction in the school since it was introduced by Nigel Hanton a few years ago. It is a Māori word meaning ‘challenge’ and we have appropriated the initials of this word to represent our core values and priorities.

W is for Whānau and represents that education is a partnership between the school and families. We have the greatest success when we are all working together. When we speak about whānau we also mean this in the wider community sense in that we are trying to look after all of our students and make sure everyone is given a fair, even chance of success and that no one is left behind.

E represents Excellence. Excellence is not confined to achievement at the very highest level but represents everyone giving their best and achieving to their highest level or finding their own personal level of excellence. Excellence is also not confined to academic areas but includes sporting, cultural, social and personal excellence.

R is for Respect because respectful relationships should be at the core of what we do and what we want our young people to acquire. R could also represent relational practice – the importance of good relationships reflecting good teaching practice. And R could also represent Restorative because things will go wrong and it’s important that we try and repair the 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.

From our strategic plan we have created an annual plan for 2018 and I am happy to share this with you. You can view both of these documents as well as our charter here – they are also on our school website under the ‘About Us’ tab.

The Education Review Office (ERO) spent about one and a half weeks in the school from Monday 26 February to Wednesday 7 March. This visit was a scheduled cyclical review that all schools and early childhood centres in New Zealand undergo. The visit was based around the over-arching question: ‘How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?’ ERO spent time in our school collecting evidence in classrooms, in interviews with students and staff and through our documentation and self review. On the last day, ERO gave us a verbal report back which we feel was very positive about what we are doing at High. The draft report will be published around Easter and I will be able to make the final report available to you either at the end of this term or early next term.

Finally, we are fast approaching our first learning conversations meeting on Thursday 29 March. This should be a good opportunity for you to get some good feedback on your student and make some goals for the year. Try and take some time before the day to discuss what your young person would like to achieve this year and base your conversation roughly around three goals. In my statements above about the strategic plan, I emphasised the more holistic view of achievement. As a starting point you might ask them about what they want to achieve academically, what contribution or service they could make to the community and what they might be starting to think in relation to pathways.

After learning conversations, we have a short break for Easter (including Easter Tuesday which is a school holiday) and then one and a half weeks before the end of term 1.

Ngā mihi nui

Dominic Killalea