Kia ora e te whanau
I want to start this newsletter by first thanking everyone in our community for how this week has gone. Thank you to our students for continuing to step up, wear their masks correctly and lead in whanau classes. Thank you to our parents and caregivers for communicating with us any concerns or absences and for supporting your students to be safe and follow the hygiene rules at school. Thank you to our staff for teaching the students in front of them while providing schoolwork online for those who are away. The whole St Peter’s College community is stepping up to support each other and this is great to see. Since coming back home to live here, I am reminded constantly that Southlanders never tap out - we keep going!
Classes are really settled now, we have gotten through the senior option changes and our new students have had opportunities to get to know the school and its systems better. There is a lot going on in the community with Covid at the moment and we will keep you updated, as we have done, when we got a single case in the school this week. We want to stress to you that it is business as usual at school, we have safety measures in place, classes are functioning, and school is open.
When times are hard, it helps to reflect on who our neighbours are and remind ourselves that it is a fundamental right for all human beings to be treated with dignity and respect despite the fact we may have differing views and beliefs. We know this from our Christian tradition and specifically from the teachings of Jesus himself. In response to the question of which is the most important commandment, Jesus answered:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Our common humanity means we are all neighbours to one another. Look after each other and have a great weekend.
Charity Fulfils the Law.
Kia ora e te whanau
I am pleased to report that the first two weeks have run smoothly with the majority of students quickly adjusting to the expectations that this current climate requires. It is heartening to see how quickly everyone has settled into the routine of being back at school. With Covid cases continuing to rise in the Southern region and with Wakatipu High School reporting some positive cases last night, it is a timely reminder to remind your children about the importance of wearing a mask appropriately throughout the day. Students who have been observed not doing this when we are contact tracing after a positive case will be classed as close contacts automatically.
St Peter’s College academic results for 2021 once again make for great reading:
University Entrance pass rate: SPC 69.2%; National 50.8%
Level 3 pass rate: SPC 84.6%; National 69.9%
Level 2 pass rate: SPC 98%; National 77.4%
Level 1 pass rate: SPC 94%; National 68.5%
Excellence endorsement rates (50 credits at Excellence level):
Level 3 rate: SPC 9.1%; National 17.9%
Level 2 rate: SPC 25% ; National 17.7%
Level 1 rate: SPC 31.9%; National 21.1%
After the year that 2021 was, these results are a credit to the resilience and efforts of our students. My thanks also to our wonderful hard-working teachers, who ensured that the impact on our students learning was significantly reduced.
We are grateful to our St Peter’s Community for your continued support in helping us teach your young men and women. We are confident that this year will be an exceptional year for teaching and learning and that they will work with dedication and enthusiasm throughout the year. We wish each of you the very best for the year ahead.
Ma te Atua tatou e manaaki
Kia ora e te whanau
Happy new year and welcome back to St Peter’s College for 2022! Omicron is casting a pall, but a new year should be a time of hope. And no one is more hopeful than educators, “teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” So, we are going to face some challenges this year, but we are prepared and well planned for all levels of adversity that will come our way. We will do this with continued hope and strive to do all that is possible to keep our students and staff safe. Our health and safety plans are all up to date and can be provided for you to read upon request.
Universal masking, vaccination of children and adults, systemic testing and tracing infections, keeping at least 1.5 metres of distance, practicing good hygiene, and sanitation and ventilation of buildings are all ways we can help minimise the spread of Omicron. Thank you for ensuring your child is wearing a mask to school. This is going to be the best way to guarantee your child does not spread or catch Covid and/or become a close contact. We have a small number of students with mask exemptions. When Covid reaches St Peter’s College, and cases rise, close contacts will instantly be asked to self-isolate at home for 10 days minimum. Wearing a mask is one way to avoid being a close contact. The table below shows how this is worked out. When we begin to back trace contacts, students and staff who have not been wearing a mask around a Covid case will be the first to be sent home.
We don't expect widespread system shutdowns like we have had before, but it's highly likely that outbreaks in individual schools may force a temporary closure and the need for quick deployment of remote instruction. We are ready for a fast pivot to virtual learning. As has always been the case throughout the COVID-19 response, some children, students or staff may be required to self-isolate (as they are a confirmed case or a close contact) or have complex medical needs, particularly if not fully vaccinated, and therefore may not attend onsite for a period of time. Our planning needs to consider what we will do if a large number of staff are unable to be at school. While it is unlikely that St Peter’s College will be closed entirely for public health reasons, it may become unmanageable to remain open for onsite learning. In this case the Board of Trustees will decide if all students and staff need to work remotely for a period of time. We will do our utmost best to accommodate the needs of students under 14 who would not have supervision at home.
As a school and community, we have learnt a lot about health and safety, online learning, communication and social media to a level we have never needed to before and as teachers our job has changed immensely. We can deal with the Covid related stuff, but it is the loss of empathy and appreciation that is unmanageable. Teachers and leaders are coping with impossible, unfamiliar burdens during this pandemic. Should you have the chance to offer grace or support over the coming weeks, I hope you will. Grace, forgiveness, patience and a willingness to work together is what will get us through 2022.