From the Principal

By Mr Simon Coleman, Principal | Posted: Saturday December 7, 2019

Tena koutou,

This is our last newsletter for 2019 and as we finish, I wanted to share some of the highlights of this year that I have enjoyed watching, hearing about or being part of.

Enrollment Zone

One of the biggest aspects of this year but not a highlight for our School’s Board of Trustees has been the implementation of the enrollment zone. This has involved a huge amount of time for the BOT which has included numerous meetings with the Ministry both here and in Christchurch, a number of internal and public meetings throughout the district, along with lots of reading on the Education Act and all associated material around establishing a zone.

What has been a highlight is how wonderful our community has been in being vocal around this significant process including a petition initiated from parent, Mrs Frances Coles, which went to the Parliament Education Select Committee, Businesses and Sports groups showed the impact this zone would have on these key aspects of Geraldine, and a number of emails, phone calls and various meetings with current and prospective parents. My thanks to all of the people who were involved in this and it certainly highlights the commitment and support from the community for our High School.

As a Board of Trustees, we were determined to ensure that we gave everything to this process so that whatever the outcome, we could be sure that we had done everything possible.  The result is that while we do have an enrolment zone it has accommodated some of the areas we wanted to maintain although not all and we are still pursuing these with the Ministry.

Other Highlights for this year to be proud of:

  • Our Largest Year 7 student group - we have 113 students over 4 classes this year which is the largest group for over 10 years at our school. I would like to think that this is in recognition of the reputation our school has alongside the quality teaching that occurs here.

  • New staff - this year has seen 16 new staff join Geraldine High School, both teaching and support staff. This always brings a new range of ideas and perspectives from our staff’s previous experience and also gives new staff that our students can connect to.

  • Science and Technology Fair - we gained a number of awards but a team of Year 9 students placed 2nd overall across all entrants.

  • The Introduction of BYOD - after the last few years of increasing our IT Infrastructure, we have followed this with the introduction of students bringing their own devices to school. This follows the introduction of devices at Geraldine Primary School which is our largest feeder school and to meet the incoming digital curriculum which will require a level of digital literacy.

  • Our International Programme - our International Student Programme has continued to develop with a greater number of students from a variety of different countries. This is such an important aspect of our school in growing our students understanding of inclusiveness alongside recognising learning from, and gaining greater global awareness by having our international students alongside us.

  • Further Progress toward our new Gym -after nearly 2 years of planning, we have developed architectural plans for a modernised gym with a number of new features. We are now looking at a June start date for construction to begin in the coming year.

  • Year 7, 8 and 9 Camps and the Year 10 Challenge Programme - these continue to be great learning environments where our students are often out of their comfort zone and gain the skills for life by being involved in these learning opportunities. We are always looking for a variety of different experiences for our students and these are some of the best for developing personal and group qualities as well as building relational culture between our students and staff.

  • Our School Wharenui -through school funding we created a Wharenui room which now provides an area for our students, particularly our Maori students to have a cultural place they connect to.

  • PIA national success -the students on this course have had a number of successes at a regional and national level with one of our teams gaining 3rd Overall in the National Junior Young Farmer Team.

  • Book publications - In 2017, the Art Department, in conjunction with students from Te Whare Ako, formed a publishing company called ‘No Laughing Me Publications.’ They published a book called ‘I’m Going Home For Christmas’. This year the company has produced a sequel to the first book called 'The Holidays are over - back to the Zoo' and a second book called ‘Counting in Maori to 22’, which is dedicated to past pupil Henry King who turned 22 this year.

  • Solar Panels - We have worked together with Rotary, local farmers and our community to be able to have the largest solar set up for any school in the South Island producing 45 kilowatt of energy on the roof of our buildings and is a model of renewable energy on site for our students to learn about.

  • Our Senior Drama Shakespeare group - this group of 4 won the regional competition and then gained awards in the national final in Wellington for the second year in a row.

  • A high number of Sporting success -notably with our Year 10 Netball team that won not only the local competition but the South Island Combined tournament, three of our students gained a place in the Aoraki Combined Rugby team that competed in the Crusaders Secondary competition, one of our students gaining the athlete with a disability regional award at the South Canterbury Secondary Schools Sports awards, and two of our students gained NZ representation in Softball and Orienteering.

  • And Leadership qualities -I am and continue to be very proud of the leadership of so many of our students. This year we have had a number of school reunions and visitors to the school and we have asked a number of our students to speak with them or show them around. They have all been exceptional as confident, mature young people whether they be Year 7 or our Year 13 Student Leaders.

  • So many Individual, Class and Team successes alongside the high quality of teaching and learning but also the relational culture that we seem to get better and better with each year.

New Senior Leadership Team for 2020

Last week, we had two days with our new Senior Leadership Team in planning for 2020. As I have mentioned in an earlier newsletter, we have Mr Ryan Wilson, as our new Deputy Principal and Ms Suzanne Pidduck, as one of our Assistant Principals who will join Mr Richard Harvey, Assistant Principal and Ms Rae Coburn, our Business Manager next year.

Mr Ryan Wilson is currently the Head of Middle School at Ashburton College with a background in Health and Physical Education. Ms Suzanne Pidduck is currently Deputy Principal at Wellington Girls College with a background in English. There will be more about them both in the newsletter at the start of next year.

Finally, Thank you for your support of the Geraldine High School Community in so many ways this year whether it is assisting on camps or school functions, coaching sports teams, or attending the variety of students events that have occurred throughout this year.

We look forward to seeing you and your child at the start of next year and wish you a safe and enjoyable Christmas Break and New Year.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa