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Principal’s comments

Mr John Russell

2013 has been a year of intense and highly productive activity. In 2012, after three years of significant annual improvement in NCEA results we were still looking to deepen our understanding of how to lift things to another level and absolutely capture our determination to be an exemplary model of a vibrant learning community where everyone is valued and challenged to be their very best every day. 

After much research and discussion we committed to implementing the Big Picture Learning model. It is all about connecting the heart, the head and the hands. It is about strong patterns of belonging, deep relationships and working to students’ passions, connecting to the world beyond school.

This has meant the total restructuring of our guidance and support systems into our new vertical Whanau with all students in Learning Advisory Roopu. It has also meant the introduction of a 100-minute teaching period every day to deepen learning opportunities and strengthen student engagement and ownership. We have made dramatic and exciting progress on this with the emergence of a really strong whanau and whole school spirit. This has only happened because staff and students have been willing to commit, take risks and engage in new ways.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege for me to have the 16 prefects as my Roopu. They have been outstanding contributors, superbly lead by Thomas and Alicia. Each whanau has developed its own identity and pride and the inter-whanau competitions have been strongly contested. Congratulations to Amo who emerged the victors with all the others very close behind.

It is fair to say we were disappointed in our 2012 academic results and some intense work has gone in this year to ensure students finish the job. Gone are the days when seniors simply go ‘on study leave’ at the end of Prizegiving. Many students are back full time completing internal credits to ensure their success and readiness for their 2014 courses at the next level. It has been great to see the excitement and pride on student’s faces as they complete and we are anticipating overall results will put us well back on trajectory of annual improvement.

2013 has been a year of remarkable successes, including the Kapa Haka winning the Regional competitions, Te Wharekotua Davis winning the E Tipu e Rea trophy for the best overall Maori and English performance at the National Nga Manu Korero competitions, the 1st XV rugby team finishing in the top four of the premier rugby grade and William Tufui and Fereti Soloa being selected in the Hurricanes under 18 squad. Many more outstanding achievements are captured in the magazine.

The year will also be remembered for the opening of the new Special Needs unit, Te Whare o Te Atawhai. This has been a long time coming but it is wonderful that these students now have a facility that enhances their dignity and connectedness to the wider school.

The Colleges 60th reunion was held at Labour weekend and was a great occasion for reconnecting and appreciating the way the College has served this community so well over time. Ex students were appreciative of the warm welcome they received from current students. Two ex pupils committed to offering annual scholarships for students which was a wonderful gesture.

The ERO team completed their three yearly review of the school in October and were highly complementary about the quality of education the college is providing. I encourage you to read the full report.

Thank you to the editorial team who have committed time and care into capturing the highlights of 2013 and of course congratulations to everyone whose achievement is noted. A special thanks to all staff, board members and student leaders who have worked so enthusiastically to make 2014 a memorable year. We have taken another step forward. Well done everyone!

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