From the Principal

By Mr Simon Coleman | Posted: Monday November 26, 2018

Tena koutou,

We are now less than three weeks from the end of our year and even with the range of events such as the Activities, Year 7 and 8 Summer Quad and Year 10 Challenge days, we still need to not lose sight of the curriculum learning and maintaining our high expectations particularly around our school value of respect - respect for other students, respect for teachers, respect for our community and most importantly respect for ourselves.

Over the last few weeks we have had a number of incidences where a small number of our students have shown little respect in their actions in school and at times, in our wider community. This is disheartening as the actions of a few at this time of the year, undo so much of the positive, supportive culture that we have.

It is at this time of the year that we look to our Year 10 students - our school leaders now that our seniors are on exam leave, to step up and set the standard of behaviour and attitude at school. This is something I ask you to speak to your son or daughter should they be in Yr 10 and discuss what they could be doing to finish our last few weeks on a positive note.

An example of this were a group of Yr 10 students - Libby Patrick, Marcus Furrer, Jacob Spijkerbosch, Sam Morrison, Hazel Fisher and Robert Furrer who along with our Head Boy and Girl for 2019, Karma Gyeltshen and Amelia Houston, assisted in guiding the Geraldine High School Year Group Reunion of 1963 around our school last Saturday 17th November.

This group of students were amazing - confident, knowledgeable and proud of being a student of Geraldine High School. I received the following email from past pupil, Mr Alan Wood, who is now Executive Chairman of EastHORN Clinical Services in the UK.

‘I was one of the participants at the 1963 class reunion last weekend. As an ex-Head Boy (1967) now living in the UK, I particularly enjoyed the tour of the school on Saturday and was impressed with the developments since our days. The students who hosted the tour did a great job.

I left NZ in 1980 to work in the international pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland, France and the UK. I wanted you to know how impressed I am with how the school has developed and I wish you all the best in the schools future endeavours.’

Our hope is that should any one of our students be given these kinds of opportunities that they would also be great ambassadors for our school.

Gym Redevelopment

We have now taken our concept plans [which are displayed in the main office] for the Gym redevelopment to final drawing stage. The gym will be under construction at some stage during Term 1 and our Gym staff are now moving equipment out and will be relocated to our School Hall for 2019. This is a significant property development for our school and will be an asset for the whole community that will form part of the Geraldine Combined Sports Strategic Plan.

New Staff for 2019

We have spent a number of weeks interviewing and appointing staff for next year. With retirements, roll increase and new opportunities for existing staff, we have employed 11 staff who are listed below:

  • Mrs Rose Cullen joins the Finance and Admin team,

  • Miss Saskia Tremmel is our languages and ESOL teacher,

  • Miss Annabel Duffield will be one of our new Homeroom teachers as well as being involved in Drama and Dance,

  • Mr Daniel Clare will also join our Homeroom team as well as teach Digital Technology,

  • Miss Amy Ross will continue in her role as a Homeroom teacher,

  • Ms Faith Harvey is also a new Homeroom teacher as well as teaching in the Science area,

  • Mrs Teena Vincent has been appointed to Learning Support as Assistant HOD as well as teaching Te Reo,

  • Mrs Karen Strijbis joins the English department,

  • Mr Steven Ludwig will continue in his role as Hard Materials Technology teacher,

  • Mrs Kate McKeown will move into a full time Maths position, and

  • Mrs Jane Voigt continues in the Science role that she has had this year as well as teaching Senior Biology.

We are looking forward to having these staff join us and bringing their experiences, knowledge and passion into a range of curriculum areas at our school next year.

Changes for 2019

As we look to 2019, there will not only be a number of staff changes and building development but also curriculum changes needed to meet both the needs of our students and the Ministry of Education directives.

One of the significant changes is the introduction of the new digital curriculum which is to be taught in all schools to all students by 2020. As a school, we recognise the importance of this and have developed this as a subject in our Yr 7-10 area as well as NCEA level courses.

The second is the review of NCEA and how this qualification can be refined particularly with a focus on project based learning. We have had a number of teacher inquiries around this over this year as well as development of cross curricular collaboration which will support this direction.

The third is our next stage of digital fluency and digital literacy incorporated into our teaching and learning programmes. An aspect of this is our promotion of BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] for next year that will assist our students to be digitally ready for the world and workforce. I have an article on this specifically later in this newsletter which outlines the structures and support we have for all families in being ready for this.

Finally, I hope this current weather which has been with us for some weeks and certainly affecting our grounds is not impacting too much on both work and your child’s activities and sports. We do hope that it has all past through in time for the range of outdoor activities that we have ahead for our students over the coming weeks.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa