Kia ora e te whanau
I have written in a past newsletter about “Raising the bar” in regard to students not just settling for Achieved grades when they are capable of Merit and Excellence. One of our challenges as parents and as a school is to focus on doing our absolute best. Merit’s and Excellence’s however do not fall out of the sky and they most certainly do not happen if the student only completes the tasks set in class spoon fed to them by the teacher. Merit’s and Excellence’s happen when students are self-disciplined and have a learning ethic that is embedded outside of the classroom. This means putting time aside after school, in the evenings and weekends to study and read.
“Raising the Bar” means to do our best as opposed to just doing enough. We all know when we have worked really hard to achieve something or when we have just done enough and our students know this too. Talk with them about their classes, the assignments they are doing and ask them to articulate the learning process for you. Read the fortnightly ATL reports and talk with your children about their academic progress and their attitude to learning. Often students will say they have no homework, or they completed all of their work at school. There are always extra reading and practice tasks that can be done to consolidate the learning that has taken place in class that day.
You will have no doubt heard the good news in the media this week around Learning Recognition Credits for senior students sitting NCEA. This boost alleviates some of the stress and pressure teachers and students were feeling around their progress due to disruptions in teaching and learning because of ongoing absences this year. In summary the changes are:
Students will be entitled to 1 Learning Recognition Credit (LRC) for every 5 credits earned through assessment, up to a maximum of:
NCEA Level 1 - Maximum LRC’s 10
NCEA Level 2 - Maximum LRC's 8
NCEA Level 3 - Maximum LRC's 8
To receive a Certificate Endorsement, students will need 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, instead of the usual 50.
To be awarded University Entrance, students will need 14 credits in each of two UE Approved Subjects, and 12 credits in a third UE Approved Subject (they will also need to attain NCEA Level 3 and meet the regular literacy and numeracy requirements).
The risk in these changes is that students may rest a little further on their laurels and do even less work in and outside the classroom. If we never expect our children to attempt more than they currently can do, while giving them certainty, it won’t lead to them fulfilling their potential.
I encourage all our students to treat their studies just as they would their sports or cultural endeavours. Being prepared to win requires preparation, it can’t happen on a whim the night
before. Our young people must continue to strive to be independent learners, self-motivated and driven. Not doing just enough, not just doing their best but doing what is required.
Charity Fulfils the Law
Kia ora e te whanau
As we welcomed back our students from the term break last week, it was a good time to remind each of them not to lose sight of the goals they set for themselves at the start of the year. It is now the right time for all our students to be aware that persistence pays and never giving up is the key to success.
The last two terms at school have been challenging but fruitful, and as we start this new term, it is very evident that persistence in every aspect of school life definitely has its benefits. Just like in sport when a particular play is not working out, the player practices and believes that this practice will eventually pay off. So also, in the area of academic achievement, assessments have been completed last term and there has been some great learning taking place in all curriculum areas. It is now important for every student to recognise those areas of weakness and work with persistence to overcome these areas of weakness and come out strongly in an important term of their school life. At the end of this term in the very last week we will have our derived grade examinations. These examinations help determine the readiness for the NZQA examinations in term four and they are also the back-up grades for any future illnesses or incidents that may stop students from sitting the NZQA examinations.
Prayer plays a huge part in us being persistent and requesting the Lord for guidance and strength. We may not see things occur immediately, but we must be patient and wait for God’s way and God’s time. There is a purpose in this wait and all that is required from us is belief, persistence and patience. As a community let us join together in prayer for our young people and know that the Good Lord has a purpose and plan for each one of them. Given the right guidance, support and care they will succeed in all they undertake. Take time to speak to them and encourage them to challenge themselves so that they can get out of their comfort zones and experience a growth mind-set that will enhance their possibilities for their future.
Luke 11:9-10 says, “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Let this message be a source of inspiration and encouragement to all our young people as they progress through the year. May their persistence to pray and succeed be their goal now and well into the future.
Charity Fulfils the Law
Kia ora e te whanau
As we begin Term 3, we continue to face many challenges. Challenges from Covid and winter colds and flus, challenges from the weather and challenges in our daily and personal lives for a whole range of reasons. However, our core business of being a school with a vision that focuses on empowering our students to develop into a person of spirit and character who will pursue actions of community, compassion, and commitment and be prepared to challenge and shape the future, remains at the heart of what we do.
St Peter’s College is a place where not only textbook knowledge is received to gain the qualifications that determine whether or not students are academic and therefore successful. I believe we are so much more, we play a much larger part in providing the basis for a student’s future. Our school is a stepping stone to our students future. Our role is to ensure that the stone our students step from out of secondary education is as high, balanced and as wide as it can be so that when a young person leaves St Peter’s College they are empowered through their Catholic education in the Mercy and Rosminian traditions to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God while pursuing their personal excellence, with the confidence to challenge and shape their future. We are not the end point for the student, for their education, for their development, but we are responsible for assisting, developing, educating and ensuring that our part in their journey allows them to sit up above the water, giving them the best platform from which to step into their future.
At St Peter’s College we want education to open opportunities and pathways for our students. We want to see students leave our school empowered to challenge and shape their future whilst being a person who lives by our values whereby they are compassionate and respectful, where they seek justice for others and themselves, and where they have the courage to pursue their ambitions.
For term 3, I encourage all of our students to make the most of their time and opportunities at school, both inside and outside of the classroom. In every lesson, to engage with their teacher and their learning, ask questions, challenge their thinking and understanding, and outside the classroom have a go and participate in at least one of the wide range of activities and opportunities available from the sports field to the arts and cultural stages. I also encourage our students to contribute outside the classroom and to support one another by taking time to watch one another on the sports fields or arts and cultural stages. We are one community in Christ where we must also strive to give back and serve.
Charity Fulfils the Law.
Kia ora e te whanau
Following in the footsteps of St Peter after whom our college is named, we are encouraged to be humble. The Feast of St Peter was celebrated on Wednesday 29 June, and it is essential that we take time to reflect on his life and honour his martyrdom. St Peter was leader of the Apostles and first Bishop of Rome (Pope). According to the Gospel, a fisherman known as Simon was called to follow Jesus, who gave him the name Peter and declared him "The rock upon which I will found my Church." Though Peter was his closest disciple, Christ prophesized his betrayal. Following the Resurrection, Peter preached extensively and became the first leader of the Church in Rome. He was martyred by Emperor Nero, reportedly asking to be crucified upside-down, for he was not worthy to die in the manner of his Saviour. We are called to follow in St Peter’s footsteps by never giving up on our faith despite all the many mistakes we may make along our journey. Coming together as a whole school for Mass this week to celebrate this feast day after many months of restrictions was a very special way to move forward.
On this last day of term two, we need to take the time to think about all that we have achieved despite the waves of COVID and winter illnesses. Our school, though it needed to roster at times, stayed open through many staffing challenges. I have witnessed many parents and teachers focus on reengaging students and supporting wellbeing. Teachers have been assessing where learning is at and just picking up from whatever place students are up to despite their absences. We have endeavoured to maintain school trips, assemblies, sports events and community events. The way so many of our schools recently celebrated the Matariki festival with students and families was truly inspirational. As we wind down for the holidays it is a timely reminder for all of our students to relax and rejuvenate themselves as we take on the second half of the academic year. There are innumerable events and occasions ahead of us and we look forward to our young people continuing to engage and enjoy what the school year has to offer.
We take this opportunity to thank all our parents and the wider community for their continued support and involvement in the life of our students at the college. Your support on the side-lines of sporting codes has not gone unnoticed, and on behalf of our young people, we sincerely thank each of you for all you do. We also thank all academic and sporting volunteers who give so much of their time and energy and make a huge difference in the lives of all of us.
Kia ora e te whanau,
If we were to ask our students, what is it you want to be? What would they say?
Ask your child if they have heard of a ‘CV’, or ‘curriculum vitae’. Explain that, when someone applies for a job, he or she usually needs to send in a CV to the prospective employer. A CV is a document that lists a person’s qualifications and any other achievements or interests that might increase his or her chances of getting the job. Tell them that it is important for everyone to have ‘CV virtues’. Virtues are things that we regard as good or positive, so CV virtues are the positive skills and achievements that we would want to write on a CV or job application. If we have no CV virtues, getting a job is far more challenging.
Another way of thinking about this is to ask, ‘What do we want other people to remember us for?’
Perhaps it is our kindness. Or our generosity. Perhaps it is our ability to make friends and include others. Or perhaps we would like to be known for being honest. When we think about the question, ‘Who do you want to be?’, we should think about the qualities and virtues that we want to demonstrate through our lives that will make a difference to the lives of others.
Three possible virtues could be:
Humility. This means being honest about our own weaknesses. Being aware of these means that we can identify the things that we find difficult and discover what we need to work on. In a world that sometimes expects us to be perfect, it can be difficult to develop the virtue of humility.
Selfless love. This means loving others in a way that keeps us from selfishness and instead shows care and kindness towards others, with no reward expected in return. In a world that sometimes encourages us to put ourselves first, it can be difficult to develop the virtue of selfless love.
Gratitude. This means being thankful for what we have and who we have in our lives. Saying ‘thank you’ and expressing our appreciation is one way in which we show this virtue in practice. In a world full of advertising that encourages us to focus on all the things we do not have, it can be difficult to develop the virtue of gratitude.
These virtues will help us to become the sort of people whom others remember with affection and fondness, not because of our careers or our success in business, but because of WHO we are.
We acknowledge that you have created us with many gifts and talents.
We come to school to develop and learn.
Help us every day to make positive steps towards achieving academic success.
We also acknowledge that you have shown us that honesty, self-giving love, humility, gratitude and justice are important.
Help us today to think about who we really want to be.
When we find it tough to develop these virtues, please guide us and help us.
I would like to congratulate the following students for putting their names forward for the St Peter’s College Servant Leadership Council. These students were recognised at this week’s assembly, and we look forward to leading and serving the school using our virtues and qualities for the betterment of all:
Ben de Jong