Hero photograph
Hayley Rae, Grace Hahn, Sophie Milligan and Ellie McBride all Yr (10)

Kia ora koutou katoa

Renée Hutchinson —

I am so proud of the way our students have responded to the ban on phones and smart devices during classes this week. Anecdotally, both teachers and students have described an improvement in focus in class, and an increase in work output – long may it continue! Students understand they have a choice: either relinquish devices during class time or face a school wide ban of all smart devices all day every day. We will keep you posted if there are to be any changes, and we thank all our students for their cooperation to date. Thanks also to the boys from 9 McAuley for modelling ‘phone jail’ for the Grey Star – you did a great job!

On Wednesday, Celia Costelloe and I participated in professional development through the Kāhui Ako on He Ruru Mātauranga Pūrākau. He Ruru Mātauranga is a kaupapa that aims to increase access for Poutini Ngāi Tahu whānau to quality educational opportunities, while also supporting and upskilling the schools, ECE centres and their respective staff within our takiwā/area. He Ruru Mātauranga ki Te Tai Poutini is being delivered by Reo Māori Mai on behalf of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae and Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio. The focus is on local pūrākau/narratives to grow whānau, education staff and the wider West Coast. The discussion and connections between the education centres and the convenors was rich and valuable and supports our mahi as educators and Board members. The day focused on the Ngai Tahu creation story and the personification of the natural world. We also engaged in the difficult but necessary conversation about racism within our schools, both overt and covert, and the impacts of this on our young people. We discussed how to respond when confronted with racist attitudes. I am sure everyone has heard statements like “why are you wasting your time teaching “Māori” when kids need maths….” Or “I’m not racist but….” Sadly, as educators we have all heard these comments from students and their families at times. At John Paul II High School, there is zero tolerance for racism of any sort. We are committed to the mahi of dismantling racism within our systems and growing cultural capability and competency for the benefit of all staff and ākonga.

Thank you to all staff, students, parents, and parish members who have responded to the student leadership survey. We have received a large number of responses that paint a clear picture of the model (and purpose) of student leadership people would like to see at JPII. Next week, we will complete our analysis and meet with the working group to discuss next steps. You will find a snapshot summary of the findings in the newsletter on Friday 25 August.

NCEA derived grade exams are fast approaching. Please look at the timetable in this newsletter so your student has their transport arrangements organized prior to exam week. Senior students are also aware that if they are entered for derived grade exams, they will need to sit them as a condition of their admission to the school ball. All seniors should be focused on revision and cementing their learning so they can do their very best in these exams.

There are a number of semi-finals and finals coming up in the sports calendar in the next few weeks. It looks to be an exciting semi-final between JPII and GHS senior boys’ basketball team at 5:45 tonight at the Rec Centre. Come down and show your support!

Ngā mihi nui

Renée Hutchinson