Kia ora tatou
At Mass last weekend, the Gospel reading came from John 15:1-8. We have all heard the verses a number of times – Jesus said, “I am the true vine and you are the branches. But just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it remains joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you remain in me. Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away.” Reflecting upon these verses and listening to Fr Damian’s sermon at Mass has given me a lot to think about during the week and I would like to share some of these thoughts with you.
Our students at St Peter’s College come to us as young, semi-formed vines in terms of emotional awareness, understanding of the world, brain development, curriculum knowledge and physical development to name a few. It is truly a privilege for all of us who teach, to watch these children grow into young adults who are confident and prepared to move into the world and contribute to their community. The relationship between parents and the college is very important to ensure that these young people gain all the nutrients they need to fully grow. The values of community, commitment and compassion which are based on Gospel values are the life water and soil nutrients that allow all of the other processes to take place. With the special character of the college at the foundation of everything else we do, the vine can grow. Getting the correct balance of all the other inputs – encouragement, acceptance and love from home, the love of learning at school, positive social interactions with peers, curriculum knowledge and competencies for life, competition and resilience gained in cultural and sporting endeavours - then our semi formed vines will grow into branches that do bear much fruit. It is our job at St Peter’s to ensure that all of the inputs are balanced and effective with a foundation set in our special character. Thank you for trusting us with your young vines. I assure you that we are constantly reviewing our current planning and programming to ensure that the nutrient inputs are the best possible.
A few ‘inputs’ from this week have been the Year 13 Biology field trip to Portobello. A large group of biologists accompanied by Mr Darrell Sutton and Mrs Louise Grogan have immersed themselves in ‘real life biology’ at the University of Otago Marine Science Centre for three days.
A number of our staff attended Gifted and Talented professional development this week. Differentiation in the classroom is a priority for us this year and onwards, and learning how to better cater for our gifted learners is important. We were fortunate to have the services of a facilitator come to St Peter’s this week to help us with this goal.
Another ‘input’ happening at present is small group work in the Junior Maths area. Small groups are being given accelerated learning opportunities to reinforce their knowledge during this term. Thank you to Mrs Eileen McCabe who has had specific training recently to support these learners. When I popped in to see them this week, the engagement and learning was exciting to see.
I am looking forward to attending the Stage Challenge on Friday evening at the Civic Theatre in Invercargill. A group of committed Year 13 students took on this challenge at the beginning of the year and 75 students from years 7-13 have joined them along the way. We wish them the very best as they take on other Southland schools in this competition.
Nga mihi nui