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Principal's Korero - 27 March 2023

Mason Stretch —

Kia ora koutou e te whānau

Thankfully, it appears as though a small wave of Covid has passed and our confirmed cases have fallen to below 10 students on a given day. There is one staff member with Covid currently. The efforts by whānau with testing and monitoring symptoms is greatly appreciated.

We have had notice of confirmed strike action by teachers in PPTA for Wednesday 29 March. Our school will be closed and we will again provide supervision for students under 14 years of age. Please contact the office to arrange this if required.

Ngā mihi and thank you to whānau for the support with our two staff only days this term. There have been learnings on culturally responsive practice and the culture of positive relationships we need to have in all kura in our Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning) to enable our ākonga or learners to thrive. The Kāhui Ako has funding through the Ministry of Education for the next 12 months to enable us to strengthen our understanding and practices. One of our goals is to share a common language for restoring relationships across all kura - ECE, primary and secondary. Another aim is to involve parents and build the understanding of the benefits of restorative approaches when harm occurs.

Our athletes have competed in the Dunstan Zones and Otago Southland Athletics competitions. This week we have the Central Otago Zones for our Year 7 and 8 students and the South Island Secondary Schools Athletics is being held in Invercargill. There are a number of students who are well placed for strong showings in these events - go well.

We have a large team of almost 20 rowers competing at Maadi Cup this week at Lake Karapiro. Getting to this regatta is a massive undertaking for coaches, managers, whānau and students. The results the recent South Island regatta were very positive with numerous A and B finals and our Novice Eight medalling with a third in their A final. Our best wishes are with all who have travelled north for the week - kia kaha, kia manawanui, be strong and persevere.

The Ministry of Education is requiring all schools in Aotearoa hold a staff only day on the changes to the New Zealand Curriculum in the first two-weeks of Term Two 2023 - between Monday 24 April and Friday 5 May 2023. As with our primary schools, we will use Monday 24 April, the first day of Term 2, for this learning. The following day is ANZAC Day and so the first school day for Term 2 will be Wednesday 26 April.

Last week there were two programmes running to provide students with skills and strategies to support their wellbeing. Year 10-13 students were provided with ideas from Ray Thompson of Red Frogs to keep themselves ‘Party Safe’ and Year 7-10 students completed the ASK programme focussing on positive mental health. The ASK programme would not be possible without the valued support of the team at Highlands - tēnā koutou and thank you.

Mason Stretch

Tumuaki - Principal