Headmaster’s Message Tuesday 24 March 2020

Kia ora, parents and caregivers

Thank you for your support through another challenging day, as we prepare for the beginning of Level 4 in the COVID-19 Alert Level Structure.

As you would be aware, from 11.59pm Wednesday 25 March, we move to Level 4 in the COVID-19 Alert Level structure for a period of at least 4 weeks, where people are instructed to stay at home.
 
Students and staff will not be able to access the school site from this time and will work from home.

Below is an excerpt from today’s communication from the Secretary of Education, Iona Holstead, for your information.
 
School holidays brought forward

“School holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week period. Holidays will now begin on Monday 30 March, to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools).
 
At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at the schools.
 
Please note the instruction to stay home (Alert Level 4) will continue beyond the new school holiday period but schools will be technically open for distance instruction. Teachers will be working offsite.”

Today, each teacher is spending time working through their lessons for the new online environment, to enable students to begin working in the Google Classroom as quickly as possible. By tomorrow, our final day on site, we will be placing lessons online for students. I encourage you to involve yourself in this process, and to support your son by being an active part of his day.

We only have the remainder of this week before we break for the holidays. It is, however, a perfect time for each young man to become used to learning in this way. It also gives you time to establish new habits, for him and for you as his support, and for the identification of any problems. This will ensure that we are able to begin Term 2, secure that the programme continues in a seamless manner.

Year 9 Semester Change

We have made the decision, today, to finish the current Year 9 semester options at the end of this week, and to begin Year 9 students’ second set of options on the first day of next term.

You will receive a Year 9 timetable for Term 2 as quickly as possible at the end of term, and your son will receive an invitation to join the Google Classrooms of his new options before the new term begins, after Easter.

If your son has incomplete practical work in his first option, we will make every effort to structure our return to in-class teaching to accommodate his ability to finish these projects. These are challenging times, and we are making decisions based on the situation in which we find ourselves!

Holiday break

I am sure you agree that this is a very stressful time, for the young men whose lives we share with you, as it is for us all. We can mitigate the effects of this stress, by providing a sense of normal life continuing, and in this, the routines of learning are critical. Please help us to support your son’s education and wellbeing, by ensuring that he develops regular habits, and patterns in his engagement with his lessons. We do not have any sense of how long this may last, so we are preparing for the possibility that it may be some time.

NCEA / Cambridge Qualifications

We continue to have discussion based on the notices we have received from NZQA and CIE, about how best to deal with any potential impact of this change of learning environment on student achievement this year. Please remain assured that NZQA, CIE and the school, are committed to realising success for your son – and we will work very hard to work with him to achieve a fair and equitable outcome.

I will continue to provide you with any updates in the days ahead, as we work together for these special young men, whose year has been so affected by this terrible reality.

I wish you all the very best for the next few weeks; enjoy the holiday break with your son and family, and cherish the different time you will share. We have an opportunity to provide both strength and love in the unique situation in which we find ourselves. It is incumbent on us all to maximise this chance.

Please do not hesitate to contact me over the days ahead, as we work together to provide a positive, safe world for our families and for the school.

Ngaa mihi nui
Susan Hassall