South Otago High School News

March, 2023 Newsletter

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10 March, 2023 Newsletter

Kia Ora Tatou
This week all of the Year 10 students were encouraged to attend the annual camp at Tautuku for two nights. I visited the camp twice and took the head students for a visit on Tuesday. The students all reported having a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences that were on offer. It was so good to see some of our quieter students excelling and thoroughly enjoying their time at camp. Whilst the students were on camp they were learning new skills and benefiting from being challenged.
It was so good to hear of the perseverance of students who may have been anxious about attending or overcoming their fear of heights to complete the abseil or confidence course. The skills and attitudes developed on school camps do transfer to work back in school and as tamariki progress to tertiary study or employment. Thank you to whanau who supported and encouraged reluctant students to participate in this invaluable learning opportunity.
School attendance
This week we have been reviewing data of student attendance and once again I ask that whanau support positive attendance at school. Of concern are a few instances where parents have collected their child from school grounds and not informed the school or the students has walked off site claiming to feel unwell. This is a health and safety risk for the school and potentially the student.
If a student is unwell during the day, they must report to Mrs Wright at the attendance/ reprographics office. The school will then make contact with the parent to arrange for the student to be picked up.
Students who have an appointment should have either an appointment card or letter from home and present this to Mrs Wright in order to both get a pass to leave school and have their attendance record marked accurately.
Wherever possible the school will notify the caregivers of an absence via text. Often the response from parents is ‘They are in school!’ Too often the student is not where they are supposed to be and so are recorded as absent which triggers a text message being sent.
Internet banking
Thank you to whanau who are paying for activities or sports to the school via internet banking. We really appreciate the efforts that you are making. But could we please ask that you make sure that you include the student name and any particulars the money is to be used for as the reference so that the money is credited to the correct student account and activity.
University of Otago Research into late start times for students   
Otago University is conducting some research into the benefits, challenges and drawbacks of having a late start to school for students aged 16+.  Below is the information as was sent to schools and an opportunity for parents, students, teachers and principals to respond. Later school start times research: have your say
We’d like to hear your opinions about later starts for Year 12 and 13 students.
Click the link below to access short University of Otago research surveys for students (age 16+), parents, teachers and principals, and Board of Trustee members of NZ high schools.
The research is funded by CureKids and the study has been approved by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee approval #22/105
Teacher strike action
On Thursday 16 March, the secondary teachers will be undertaking strike action. As a result the school will be closed for instruction and we will not be able to provide supervision for students. We understand and appreciate that this may be inconvenient to parents but I hope that you will be supportive of teachers as they endeavour to improve the conditions for the profession in order to make it more appealing to attract new people into the profession.
A separate letter has been sent home with information about the strike action and in particular for students on tertiary courses on Thursday. No school buses will be operating on Thursday.
The weather is starting to turn cooler and with it the need for students to dress appropriately. Last year there was extensive consultation regarding the school uniform requirements. The Board heard from parents and students that the woolen jersey was not favoured and introduced a new ‘blast fleece’ top as an alternative which is being transitioned as part of the uniform. A few students I have spoken to speak very favourably of the new jersey and say it is warm and comfortable. Students may wear the new fleece uniform top or the woollen top. Hoodies and sports tops are not accepted as part of the school uniform.
Ka kite ano

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