Principal Comment

By Simon Coleman, Principal | Posted: Thursday August 13, 2015

Tena Koutou Katoa

I have had the pleasure of speaking about Geraldine High School to the Go Geraldine [email protected] Breakfast and the Temuka/Geraldine Rotary groups over the last few weeks. I spoke about the special qualities that our school has and about the quality teaching and support staff we are fortunate to have working in our school. I also spoke about how vital it is that we work together to support the transition for our students from school to work, as well as ensuring students learn all they can about the occupations that exist and could be open to them. By establishing links with these groups their members can work with us to ensure students know what employment opportunities might be available to them, particularly in the South Canterbury area.

School Ball

My first Geraldine High School Ball!! What a wonderful occasion this was and obviously a highlight for both our senior students and the wider community, based on the crowds who were there to watch those attending walk in. I was most impressed with the work done by the student Ball Committee, supported by a large number of staff and parents, which transformed our Hall into the Enchanted Forest. It was a wonderful evening and one to remember which was appreciated by all the guests. A special thanks to Mrs Jo Nicolson for the meticulous organisation and management of this memorable event.

Senior Assessment Week

This week was the beginning of the Mock Exams for our senior students. This is an important part of our senior students’ year as they get the opportunity to practise sitting an external exam under the conditions that they face at the end of the year. It also is an opportunity for each student to gauge where they are at in their learning and what actions they need to take so that they are in the best position to achieve their full potential in NCEA.

Board of Trustees Update

My thanks to Dr Diana Scott who has been a member of our BoT since 2010. Diana has resigned from the Board but she will continue to be an asset for our school community, particularly around the health and welfare of our students. We are pleased to welcome Mr Mark Mulligan, who has previously been a BoT member, back to the BoT until the elections in April/May 2016. Our current Board is: BoT Chair - Mr Ian Hislop, Principals of Carew Peel Forest and our school - Mrs Kay Ward and myself, Staff representative - Mr David Hay and Student representative - Troy Titheridge, a Carew- Peel Forest parent representative - Ms Jan Finlayson, and four parent representatives - Mrs Sally Prattley, Mr Tristan Leov, Mrs Tracey Nelson and Mr Mark Mulligan.

John Parsons - Cyber Safety

Last Tuesday we were fortunate to have Mr John Parsons speak to all our students and to a parent session in the evening. He was speaking about the importance of cyber awareness and safety as well as the need to care and being empathetic, so that we are a society that supports everyone. The message certainly had an impact on our students, with many taking his key messages to heart and ensuring they are protecting themselves online.

John really enjoyed the environment of Geraldine and he was impressed with the interest the students showed in his message. He is now working with various Trusts to see if he can secure financial support to enable him to spend time in the Canterbury region working with schools, hospitals, Police and other groups. He is a very impressive and effective presenter and we certainly hope that he is able to come back to Geraldine to undertake further education in our community, educating us about protecting ourselves and others in the cyber environment we work and live in.

BYOD agreement and use

We have over recent weeks had students breaking our BYOD agreement which was sent to all parents and students last term. Considerable time and research has gone into creating this agreement which is vital in our digital world where the safety of all our students is paramount. We have included the agreement again in this newsletter for you to go through this with your children. Could you pay particular attention to Personal Responsibilities: #4 The student may not use the device to record, transmit or post photos or video of a person or persons at school at any time without the express permission of both teacher and the person being photographed or videoed/recorded.” All our students must realise that they can not video, record or take photos of anyone on the school grounds. Instead there are procedures in place that we follow which all students are well aware of.

Jump Jam House Competition

At Assembly on Wednesday last week we had the annual House Jump Jam competition. It was a wonderful example of Relationships and Collaboration in action. There had been a commitment from these groups to develop a routine that included students of all year groups, sequenced and with all the actions in time. The four House Captains and their Houses did an amazing job and what was apparent to many staff was that these groups were inclusive of all of our students with new students to our school, Learning Support and International students all being part of these groups.

Secondary Schools Short Story and Poetry Competition Success

Five of our students have achieved outstanding success in the very competitive ODT Extra National Short Story and Poetry writing Competition. See article and photo in this newsletter.

We look forward to seeing these students continue to enjoy success in their writing endeavours in the future.

Sports Representatives

We have had a very successful winter season across the various sporting codes our students participate in. A number of our teams have been in semi-final and final games. I have been very impressed by the number of our students who have made it into representative teams at South Canterbury, Canterbury and National level. See further information about sporting successes in this newsletter.

Newsletter - Survey

This is our second e-newsletter and we are seeking feedback from all our parent community on how you feel about this change.  We want to have greater connectedness with parents, students and the wider community so we are in the process of having an e-newsletter that is "any device capable" meaning it is compatible with smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers; developing a school Facebook page which will be available soon, and later this year, a rebranded website.

We have a Survey that can be done online, through the link below, or with the email link.  Please take the time to give us your view about this e-newsletter.