In my Galaxy…
This newsletter update is slightly longer than ‘War and Peace’, and similarly worth a read! It is the end of a month and the end of a long term that has been eventful and event-full.
Movements in Education
I had the good fortune to attend the Association of Integrated Schools (AIS) Conference in Wellington earlier this month. This annual event allows principals, proprietors, board members, and chaplains the chance to meet together and discuss what is happening in schools like ours, and more importantly to be invigorated by some stimulating key note speakers. Such was the case of Peter Hughes, Secretary of Education, who spoke realistically about the state of New Zealand education. What was perhaps the most pleasing to hear was the improved outcomes of Maori and Pasifika with a 20-30% rise in results. What is that down to? He says the difference has been created by the improved quality of teaching and leading in schools. As the Principal in this school, my primary focus is to lead teaching and learning. IES – collaboration between schools is an initiative established to do exactly that – create collaborative models. It is in year one of a four year plan and Trinity Schools is perhaps ahead of itself as it is already in that type of a model with its community of schools. The gain for any schools involved in a collaborative community is immense – not just financially. Rolling this initiative out will mean that the collaboration versus competition scenario will not countenance a child succeeding at the expense of another; no child should ever be left behind. There are still challenges ahead in the system: literacy, numeracy, and culture changes and systems alignment. However, awareness means these are known and recognised as some things to be addressed.
There is nobody who cares about a child more than his or her parents – despite the negative attention given to those who are unfortunate to fall outside that descriptor. The Ministry have listened and created a website for parents of school aged children and young people, to reach out to the parents.
I have written about this site in years 9-11 Reports, but you can access it here.
Of course your daughter continues to be brilliant, but some of the shimmer has become less than shiny because of all the extra calls on her time. She will be revitalised by a well-earned and timely holiday. We want the well-rounded girl, but if I parallel this girl with a perfectly inflated ball- if it is overused it will ultimately get flat. We want her bouncy and ready for play so I encourage her to find time to rest in the break.
Some girls who have really stood out this term:
- To our choirs – song is uplifting and we have been truly uplifted by all of our choirs. Tremendous efforts from the girls and their coaches.
- To Sarah Saunders on her efforts with her band Halafaxa in the Rockquest – well done.
- Emma Dalzeill and Paige Blundell – For excellent coaching and managing of the primary football team
- Milly France, Lauren Tonkin, Hannah Morris Denby, Claudia Hawkes, Hazel Jamieson, Paige Hirst, Alison Lennox and Mia Gordon, also Casey and Yuria. These young women performed incredibly well in the recent squash tournament, both on and off the court. Winners from St Matts in every division- Milly France in Division 1, Hannah Morris Denby in Div 2, Claudia Hawkes in Div 3, Hazel Jamieson in Div 4 and Alison Lennox in Div 5.
- Also in Squash at the Taupo Open Junior Tournament – Milly France, Beatrice Pearce, Lauren Tonkin and Hannah Morris Denby played well with: Milly runner up in Div 1, Lauren winning Div 2, and Beatrice winning Div 2 plate
- Five of our Kapa Haka girls – Emily Draper, Olivia Sala, Polly Walker, Samantha Levy and Macy Ngatuere – competed in the Wairarapa Combined Schools Kapa Haka ropu on Friday 26 June. Wairarapa ki Uta Wairarapa ki Tai kapa haka group has been working toward the biennial Wellington contest – held at Lane Park in Upper Hutt – since an inaugural Kapa Haka Academy was run at Wairarapa College in April. Seven groups performed or competed at the regional event and Wairarapa ki Uta Wairarapa ki Tai had captured third place overall which is “phenomenal” considering the home team has been together for barely two months. The Wairarapa team took third place overall alongside a third in waiata tira (choral), third in waiata a ringa (action songs), first equal in kakahu (costume) and first place in whakaeke (stage entry). What is important is they lost to two very polished groups.
- To our soft materials classes readying yourselves for the Hokonui Awards – You have committed a great deal of time. I saw a mini runway show as you made your way back and forth in your outfits yesterday so I wish you all well with your entries.
- Students who have performed well at the Oversew Fashion Awards in Carterton last month are: Yr 11 Sarah Whitehead – Kai “Sew Carterton” Young Designer of the Show (18 and under), Yr 12 Orion Scott – “NZ Fashion Tech” Encouragement award. Others to make the finals were: Hannah Callister, Ella Sims, Lucy McLennan, Sophie Leske, Latia Farquhar, Charlotte Ross, Maddison Barham
- To the 7 and 8s’- from Wellington I received a wonderful report about excellent behaviour and conduct on their trip to Te Papa last week. Well done.
- To you all – Winter Sport is compulsory – we know this, but I want to acknowledge all for their commitments to their teams by turning up to practices and games.
- Makaylah Julian and Latesha Smith both made the Takitimu Maori Women’s Hockey team so will be representing Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and Wellington regions at the National Maori Women’s tournament in Whangarei during Labour weekend.
- The cast and crew on ‘Into the Woods,’ who have been rehearsing tirelessly to bring us our wondrous evening of acting, singing and dancing. The whole cast and crew, boys and girls, of ‘Into the Woods” have worked so very hard to entertain us with this magical compilation of fairy tales. But I must focus on our girls – they were absolutely fantastic – their acting magnificent, their acting riveting and their singing voices mesmerising.
- Our leaders – prefects and SMOSLS – their leadership and service are excellent.
I want to acknowledge the staff for their hard work this term. Their support of all I do, we do in management, is very much appreciated. I also appreciate their willingness to be a part of the consultation process as and when required. We are a team, but as you can probably guess, I am ever aware I am the Captain.
Our best wishes are extended to Mrs Rachael Cato who lost her Dad recently, and Mrs Lynn Priestley who lost her Mum. In our thoughts are Mr Tim Clarke who is recovering from surgery, Mrs Rosemary Taylor whose Dad is unwell, and Mrs Tracey Innes who too is recovering from shoulder surgery.
We wish Ms Jane Tiley well as she takes two terms leave. We welcome back Mrs Lorraine Keats who is rejoining us from next term. Also joining us next term are two new Tutors- Rachel (Sport) and Rosie (Boarding).
We are looking to update the school tracksuit from 2016. The phase in will begin with Year 12, who will have the opportunity to purchase the new gear when they go into the senior skirts. Next year’s new entrants to St Matthew’s will be the last cohort in the old tracksuit. A sportswear company, whose track jackets are already being worn by some of our first team girls, manufactures the new tracksuit.
Our relationship with Barbara Lee will continue, as we remain happy with the school uniform. There may be modifications, but the basic look will remain the same.
The uptake on the school jackets has been great. The girls look good, and report that it is both warm and waterproof.
We have updated the website as to our expectations around hair. Our uniform is not just about the garment; it is indeed about the entire presentation of the individual.
Despite some wet days and cold evenings the girls are honouring their sporting commitments. Sport is very strong in the Wairarapa; sport is strong in St Matt’s. We do well as a school because of the passions of the girls, their coaches and managers, and their supporters – that includes you. You may receive a reminder about your daughter needing to attend to this commitment; she is a member of a team so missing a practice or a game ultimately has a collateral impact. On the whole I am pleased with this arena of the school, and thank those parents who volunteer their time in every capacity to support the school.
We are very fortunate to have Natalie Finnigan as our Marketing and Communications Manager. She is already making a difference to how we present ourselves as a school. Our profile is important and she is putting together a robust plan that gives a wonderfully honest picture of ourselves – and it is a great picture.
Our Mission Statement and Vision states this:
To provide an education which encourages young women to seek excellence in every aspect of their lives – academic, spiritual, cultural, social and sporting.
St. Matthew’s Collegiate is a centre of educational excellence, providing a foundation for young women to reach their highest potential through academic, sporting and cultural opportunities. It empowers young women to be confident, resilient, connected and successful valued citizens, who are equipped for the future.
We have taken an opportunity to provide support, as we would do for any area around the girls’ personal growth, around the part of the vision that refers to empower[ing] young women to be confident, resilient, connected and successful valued citizens, who are equipped for the future. Rachel Hansen from ‘Good Talks’ an engaging speaker for young women has spent three separate days with our girls doing just that- empowering them to empower themselves. Her method of delivery is real and relatable. We will call on her services again in the near future and I know the girls will benefit from the way Rachel reinforces the messages you give at home.
The work in the classroom – teaching and learning is our core business. In the passage below I make mention of the reports. These will indicate your daughter’s progress and next steps. The girls are busy with assessments and work completion so balance is vital. They are receiving a myriad of ideas and advice about usefully employing their prep time so heeding those words is important. However, as parents feel free to make contact with the school if you would like more assistance to support your daughter.
Reports will be with you soon. Senior reports you will already have. There will be an invitation to attend the interviews and earlier I referred to a website that provides you information about getting the best out of your interview.
Another communication tool recently launched to the girls is the School App. You will also find it an instant way to see what’s going on by going to your phone or iPad.
Security and Safety
The security cameras I spoke of some time ago are installed and fully operational. They are strategically placed to cover the sensitive areas of the school. My comfort is in knowing that we have a deterrent for unwanted visitors, not that this is a common occurrence. The peace of mind in knowing we have this facility is however, gratifying.
We farewelled the Geotour group yesterday: They were winging their way to South Africa last night. We wish them well for this big adventure, which will be educational and uplifting. This weekend our netball girls are off to the Gold Coast Netball tournament. Both travel parties have worked tirelessly to fundraise, and to that end I compliment the students, staff and parents for putting in the hard yards to make these trips possible.
Thank you for all your support and involvement this term. I want to acknowledge the work of the Friends of St Matthew’s who are continually busy, endeavouring to raise funds to provide those things which our budgets do not cover. Their big push this year is for the playground and fitness circuit. Much consultation occurred leading up to the final blueprint to ensure that this facility catered to our youngest and also could be fitted into the Physical Education programme. We are determined to get this built but we need our community’s support.
Your girls need a restful break. They are knackered. Actually we all are, aren’t we?
Have a good one. Stay safe. Stay Warm. See you next term.