Student at the centre of what we do!

By Mr Simon Coleman | Posted: Friday August 26, 2016

Tena Koutou Katoa,

The focus over the last few weeks has been on our students and what is best for their future. This is always our core business but at times we get caught up in many of the other aspects of school that take up a great deal of our time. I constantly remind myself of this as I deal with Finance, Property, Agencies, Ministry matters and numerous other areas. When working through these areas I often ask myself is this the best for our students? How will it impact on our students and their learning and is this the best thing to do at this particular time?

I can definitely state that the Conference Day we had for our Year 10-12 students and parents on Monday was the best event at this time to be doing for our students. It was all about the student and not so much about their individual subjects as previous Parent Teacher evenings have been. It was about learning more about your son or daughter’s passions, viewpoints and what they would like to do in the future. It was also about where they are at with their learning and what can we do better as educators to assist the on-going learning for them.

We have received great feedback from many parents, teachers and students on how valuable this time was to be able to talk to their Vertical Form Teacher for 20 minutes, speak with a subject specialist in the Hall and to hear more about NCEA and Pathways so that your student and yourselves have all the necessary knowledge to make good decisions for the future. We are a leading school in this regard. The way we ran this, with the opportunities and depth of conversation, make it  one of the most important things we have done in focussing on the student and their journey at Geraldine High School.

My thanks to the tireless work that all the teaching staff have put into being prepared for this day and gathering all the knowledge of each of their students that they met for an interview. Mr Grant Rogers did a wonderful job around the logistics for this day and the staff who were involved in the curriculum displays in the hall also did a fantastic job.

This week we had a day with Mr Craig Reddington who is the lead teacher at a Dunedin High School in the Sport in Education/Active Education Pilot programme that is running in 8 schools over the country. He was speaking to a number of our staff about the raising of engagement and achievement that occurs with students using a sport framework across a range of curriculum areas. This has been in place at his school for the last 4 years and a number of ideas were raised and will be explored in the future. Mr Reddington emphasised that a large part of this is about student ownership [or agency] as the main motivator in student progress which was a similar message we had from Mr Mark Osborne a few weeks ago.

Another area that is focussed on every student in our Geraldine Community is the formation of a COL - Community of Learning which consists of Woodbury Primary School, Winchester Rural School, Geraldine Primary School, Carew Peel Forest School, Geraldine High School, Clandeboye Pre-School, Geraldine Pre-School, Geraldine Kindergarten and Ara Institute of Canterbury.  We had a Principals' and lead teachers meeting this week with the ministry and we have reached a draft vision as well as some possible achievement targets for the group. In the evening we had Principals, Head Teachers, Staff and Boards of Trustees together to hear about what the COLs are for and answer any questions. This is a great opportunity to formalise what is already occurring in the strong and collegial relationships between all our educational facilities. A COL will certainly further enhance this, along with our focus of using all of our experiences and expertise to achieve our aim of enabling every child in the Geraldine community to thrive and achieve to their potential in all facets of education.

Our draft COL Vision is ‘Our learners will successfully engage with and contribute to their community with Confidence, Integrity and Respect.’

As we head closer towards the end of this term, we are starting to look at our structures for our 2017 year. This encompasses staffing, various positions and roles staff have, how effectively we can deliver a curriculum that will be successful and viable for our students and to ensure that the subject choices are available. You will be starting to look at what subjects that your son/daughter is interested in and we hope that you have enough knowledge to make informed decisions for next year. We have a number of staff that can assist you with this should you have any questions. Please make contact with Mr Jason Shaw, Mr Mark Hayward or Ms Thomson if you need more clarity or advice.

Have an enjoyable weekend and all the best to our teams involved in tournament week starting on Monday.

Nga mihi nui