As I write my comment for our newsletter, the state of Victoria in Australia heads into another lockdown; a timely reminder that not only does Covid-19 still have a sting in its tail in this part of the world, but also that we cannot afford to be complacent. In the context of Riccarton High School, it means maintaining good habits around hygiene, and staying home if feeling unwell. For our visitors to the school, including whānau, it means continuing to use the contact tracing app.
The first half of this term has certainly been a busy one. It was wonderful to be able to host 240 Year 8 students from our main contributing schools at the beginning of May, as they spent a day engaging in activities with our staff and some of our students. Providing an opportunity for these year 8 students to get a ‘taste’ of High School life continues to be popular and we have received some excellent feedback. Well done to everyone involved.
Our Open Evening also generated some very positive feedback with approximately 700 people exploring our various learning areas and engaging with both students and staff. The most common comment from our visitors was about our passionate teachers and outstanding student ambassadors.
E mihi ana ki a koutou I te mahi mī haro nei. Amazing work by all.
Feedback form our Open Evening has certainly reinforced the strong and positive reputation that we have in our wider community. It also reinforced the fact that for many out-of-zone families looking to enrol in 2022, their chances are diminishing as our in-zone numbers grow and the number of out-of-zone places offered decreases (as a result of a directive by the Ministry of Education). We certainly understand the disappointment that many of these families will feel, however, it is something that remains beyond our control.
Work on planning our redevelopment project, scheduled to start in 2022, continues to move forward. We are currently in the preliminary design phase, and we have received some positive feedback form the Ministry of Education’s Design Review Panel. We hope that this stage will be complete by the end of June before a fuller design brief is created, which includes such things as what materials will be used. In terms of ‘new’ buildings, plans for a 12-classroom block and whare are being completed in addition to redevelopment work on a number of existing buildings. I hope to bring you more specific details in the near future.
Finally, as a result of being awarded a TeachNZ sabbatical, I am looking forward to taking time in term 3 to explore how we can better utilise student voice as a way of enhancing our students’ experience at Riccarton High School; particularly important when we have such diversity within our student population. My thanks to the Board of Trustees for supporting my leave of absence, providing me not only with an opportunity to extend my professional learning, but also in the long-term benefit of our ākonga. During this time, the school will be left in the capable hands of Lisa Heald as Acting Principal.