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Linda Miller

Principal's Report

Ms L. Miller, Principal —

Welcome to our first newsletter for the 2019 school year.

Over the past week we have welcomed our new Year 9 students, numerous students from around the country and the world into other year levels, and a number of staff. We all hope they are finding their feet in a new school and that they quickly feel a sense of belonging to Otago Girls’ High School.

It has been wonderful to catch up with many students over the past few days to hear about their holidays and what they are looking forward to this year. All students are now well into their classes and those who have had timetable issues or changes are almost sorted thanks to all the work put in by teachers, mentors, Heads of Departments and the timetabler leading up to and during our course confirmation sessions.

Much has been achieved over the past fortnight, enabling us to reduce interruptions to teaching and learning time in the coming weeks. Prefect and Peer Support training has occurred, elections held for house leaders, PB4L has been relaunched, Whanau Groups have met, our itinerant music concert has been held, entries and planning for our Sports Day are underway and many sports are either up and running or are holding trials. We also held a teacher only day which featured sessions on wellbeing delivered by Denise Quinlan, an expert facilitator in this area.

Our NCEA results are again excellent, particularly given that NZQA reports on these differently this year compared to previous years. The following table shows the comparison between our results, national results and Decile 8 - 10 school results for the 2018 year.

Overall NCEA Results 2018

Level 1     91.4 - OGHS(%)           70.1 - National (%)     79.8 - Decile 8-10(%)

Level 2      96.2                                    76.1                                   83.2

Level 3       86.0                                   63.7                                   74.5 

UE               74.5                                   46.1                                    62.5

We are also delighted with the 14 Scholarships gained by our students this year with these being achieved in English, Biology (4), Chemistry, Photography, Statistics, Geography, Physics, Health and Physical Education, Japanese, History, Music.

On Monday this week we held our Prefects Assembly at which we presented the Prefects for 2019 with their badges. Congratulations to these girls who will be ably led by Head Prefect Rose Stevenson and Deputy Head Ella Steel. Prefects are just one of many leadership positions in the school. Our Peer Support leaders began their duties last week by supporting the Year 9s to find their way around the school while our sports co-ordinators are busy preparing for the year ahead. Further house leader elections are being held today in addition to those held earlier, and nominations will be called for soon for students interested in other roles such as IT Angels, council representatives and cultural co-ordinators.

Looking towards the year ahead we have some work to complete around finalising the principles that underpin teaching and learning at Otago Girls’ as well as our learner profile. Curriculum innovation is the major focus for teaching staff this year with our newly created iTime providing space and opportunity to implement programmes that incorporate integration, problem based learning and that are responsive to the current needs of students. On the property front we are planning to refurbish our ‘Classroom by the Sea’ ready for its use for curriculum and Education Outside the Classroom opportunities. We are also hosting the Anne Frank exhibition in September/October and I would love to hear from anyone who could volunteer time to help ‘person’ this exhibition.

Coming up next week is our Year 9 meet the teachers evening which is a great way to meet your daughter’s teachers and other parents. I would encourage all parents of Year 9 girls to attend. We are also holding our Pasifika fono and International BBQ. Friday will be our Athletic sports which are held at the Caledonian. All parents and whanau are warmly welcomed to attend. I look forward to meeting many of you at these events.

Last year we adopted a new vision statement for the school: Inspire, empower, challenge, dream. Our vision is that we work together as a school community to inspire, empower and challenge our learners so that they have the desire, the ability and the capacity to not only dream, but to realise those dreams. Help us make that happen for your daughter by letting us know if there are any barriers to her achievement and by supporting her and the work we do. This year is Board election year and I would encourage any of you who are interested in serving on the board to read the material in this newsletter and to come in for a chat with me if you wish to know more.