South Otago High School News

2024 Newsletter

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8 March 2024 Newsletter

Kia Ora Tatou
It has been a little quieter about the school this week with the Year 10 students being away at the Tautuku camp. I visited during the first half of the week when the weather was very wet. Despite the challenging conditions students (and staff) were in very good spirits and having a great time. I am enormously grateful to the staff who took on the responsibility of running the camp and in particular those that worked hard to adapt the programme at short notice to ensure that students continued to have a great time despite the weather.

Cell phones, away for the day
On Thursday a letter was sent home to all parents/whanau regarding the introduction of the policy for cell phones being away for the day regulations that have been directed by the Government. Next week I will be talking to students about the expectations and the implementation of the policy so that everyone is clear. I recommend that whanau talk to students about the expectations and consequences. In summary:

  • Phone turned off and in bag, locker or security pouch from 08:40 to 15:10 each school day.
  • Phone not to be carried in pockets or on person.
  • No connected devices such as smart watch used for communication or headphones/earbuds etc.

There will be incremental consequences for students which will start with students being required to secure their cell phone in a security pouch which they can open at the end of the day increasing to the cell phone being secured in  the school office for whanau to collect.
This change in expectations are required by the government but will only work if whanau are supportive and assist students in trying to get this change right. Please do read the letter sent home yesterday and the policy and procedure which accompanied the letter.
For whanau who wish to apply for an exemption details of the criteria for an exemption are in the policy and  link to the application form can be found here.

Conferences for students and whanau are being held next Wednesday during the school day and on Thursday evening. No classes will be running on Wednesday but students are expected to attend their conference meeting with their mentor and whanau. We expect all whanau to make an appointment to attend a conference. The meeting will typically last 20 minutes and do help students make progress and assist in how we can all work together to ensure that students achieve their full potential.
BoT Meetings
The school is governed by a board of trustees who  meet once per month. The Board have asked that I publicise the meeting schedule for the year so that our parent community is aware of the dates for meetings. Meetings are meetings held in public although sensitive matters may be discussed in the ‘public excluded section’. If parents wish to attend a board meeting they are welcome to do so but will need to advise the school office in advance so that we can ensure that seating is available. If a parent wishes to address the board this will be at the discretion of the Board.
The meeting dates for the 2024 Board Meetings are:

3 April
8 May
5 June
3 July
7 August


4 September
25 September
6 November
4 December

A copy of the procedure for the Public Attending Board Meetings is available upon request
The Ministry of Education has asked that the following information be shared with our community:
Last year there were 13 cases in New Zealand. Please encourage your school communities to follow Ministry of Health advice, particularly that the best protection against measles is two doses of the MMR vaccine.
Find out more about the MMR vaccine:
Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine –
For more information about measles visit:   
Measles – Te Whatu Ora

I look forward to hosting whanau for the conferences next week. If you have not already done so please do book a time with your child’s mentor. If no times are suitable in our allocated time please do contact the mentor to arrange a separate meeting or phone conference. Students who do not attend a conference will be marked as absent for the day.
Have a great weekend.
Ka kite ano

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