Kia ora e te whanau,
Back in Alert Level 4. Make no mistake however, things are different this time. Here is an interesting, easy to read article about why we went to Level 4 so quickly: https://thespinoff.co.nz/science/18-08-2021/siouxsie-wiles-toby-morris-delta-makes-this-a-new-kind-of-challenge-but-we-can-smash-it-again/
By the time you read this, the 1pm news bulletin will probably already be out so I do not know at this stage on Friday morning, what the decision has been around extending level 4 or changing levels. The extremely contagious nature of the Delta variant and the intention to stamp it out does mean that Health advice is very cautious. It was really sudden for teachers, students and parents to have to respond to the fact we would not be allowed back in school to collect any essential workbooks or items. I know that this inability to get devices and hard materials out to students who did not take things home with them before the relatively late Alert Level change is a challenge.
While we’re continuing to work with the Ministries of Health and Education to enable whānau and caregivers to collect materials and/or devices we were able to confirm that staff can go on site to arrange distribution of hard materials and/or devices today under extreme circumstances and safety measures. We are not at this stage able to organise any pick ups from school but if this lockdown is extended, we will be working on a plan for next week. Please note we have no confirmed path forward as yet, so we will get further clarity before undertaking a major resource drop-off exercise.
Connecting with families is so important when children are away from school. That is why we have arranged the 15 minute check ins across all classes over the last two days. If we have not seen or heard from your child, we will be making contact with parents to check on their safety and wellbeing. Thank you all, to our staff, whanau and students, for your quick work as we respond to the latest changes in COVID-19 Alert Levels. I want to acknowledge the pressure that moving into Alert Level 4 put on many of you, our community and your livelihoods. He waka eke noa – we’re all in this together. If you have any questions or concerns about how we are responding as a school please do not hesitate to contact me directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org We will work hard to bring a solution to any problem.
Lastly, and if Covid had not interrupted our week, I would have led with the very exciting outcome of the Bishop’s Shield last weekend, with St Peter’s College taking out top place! Please read on for more details and photos. I would like to personally thank the many coaches who trained their teams for weeks leading up to the event and for giving up their weekend to support their students. Thank you also to the students for striving for excellence, being gracious in defeat and humble in their success.
Charity Fulfils the law.
Kia ora e te whanau,
Outside the family, there isn't any other youth institution that equals sports as a setting in which to develop character. All of our sports teams help to build the culture of our school and wearing the St Peter’s College crest on the turf, field or court is a positive, character-building experience. The school and sporting culture is the same here. Sport culture is school culture. We value excellence in sports, but we value attitude over aptitude. We reinforce our school's values through sports. At St Peter’s College it is not about winning at any cost, and it is most certainly not about playing for other clubs or entertaining thoughts of merging with other schools to be “better,” “seen,” and “number one.” Our students want to play with their friends, and they are proud to wear our school colours. We see this in the haka before a game, in the practices and through the many warm up hoodies and tops that are designed with our school crest front and centre by our students.
The values we are teaching in our curriculum are complemented by what happens in sports. These teachable moments come when players achieve or fall short of their sporting goals, and when coaches help them process the cause and effect of what they have just done. But teachable moments also come in the interludes, in practice, during team travel, while troubleshooting or even shooting the breeze — when coaches can teach students life lessons in persistence, teamwork, sacrifice, effort, discipline, leadership, and in overcoming adversity.
I have coached many sporting teams over my years in education because I am thankful for the teachers who did that for me when I was at school. I want to pay this kindness forward, but I also have a passion for seeing kids improve and achieve success no matter how small. As all good teacher coaches know, relationships are built on the court, turf or field and the students you coach are always the best behaved in our classes. They work harder for you knowing you work hard for them.
Students might be able to learn the value of teamwork in a lab setting, but it's easier to teach the value of teamwork through sports. You get immediate feedback to reinforce your lack of preparation, for example, or the value of hard work. When you get that publicly, maybe in the media, and on the scoreboard, it brings the lesson home even quicker.
Therefore, sports are a fundamental part of the total curriculum at St Peter’s College, fulfilling our motto of 'Charity Fulfils the Law.’ The objectives of coaches and teachers are identical: to help young people reach their fullest potential intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Accordingly, sportsmanship, the demonstration of appropriate conduct, honest rivalry, and graceful acceptance of the outcome is as important as the full development of athletic skills. Critical to these teachings is the expectation that our community as well as our athletes will demonstrate respect for everyone involved in athletic competition. This is why I am extremely proud of all of our rugby teams this year for ranking highly on the STAG awards this year. STAG stands for “Spectator and Team Award for Great Behaviour.” Rugby Southland put this incentive in place this year to encourage positive team culture and behaviour in our secondary school competition. Our U17 and U15 teams came in second and our U14 team came in third. Culture determines behaviour and this is evidence that we have a fantastic school and sport culture. I would like to thank all of our spectators, supporters, managers and most importantly our coaches as we look towards the end of winter sports season. I wish all of our teams the very best of luck in their semi finals and finals but most of all I wish for them to display our culture with pride and with fair play.
Lastly a reminder that to conclude our community consultation on the strategic plan I would like to specifically invite parents and caregivers of our Maori families to a whanau hui on Wednesday the 18th of August in the staffroom at 7pm to share some kai and have a shared dialogue on the direction you would like to see the school go in over the next three years. All parents and caregivers welcome, not just Maori.
Kia ora e te whanau
The Board of Trustees is currently in the midst of planning the schools strategic plan and goals for the next three years. We thank everyone who has shared their feedback and views in the recent online surveys, and it was also very valuable to have a discussion session with our servant leadership students on where they see the direction of St Peter’s College. This is the perfect time therefore to reflect on what we want a St Peter’s College graduate to be and plan for how they get there. All parents worry about their child’s future and how they will turn out in life, and we are here as teachers to support that journey.
From my perspective I believe all young people turn out well if they and their whanau commit to four aspects of school life:
1. They attend school every day from Year 7 right to the last day of Year 13.
2. They play a sport or participate in an extra curricula activity for their community.
3. They never experiment with drugs.
4. Their parents are involved in their education.
I could almost guarantee life success if these four conditions are followed. These four conditions cover four important areas of life:
1. Academic resilience.
2. Teamwork and community.
4. Example and encouragement.
So, what do I think is the St Peter’s College graduate? How would I describe her or him?
1. A person of courage: faces issues head on, speaks out about injustice, always completes tasks.
2. A person of hope: Life is always better tomorrow. Never wallows in failures or past mistakes.
3. A person of service: Has learnt that life is about giving back to their community, their family, their school. Life is about the other person - not themselves.
4. A person who is authentic: Has taken on board the St Peter’s College values of Community, Commitment and Compassion. Says yes instead of no.
5. A person that knows life comes from God: Knows we will eventually return to him, lives with gratitude and daily prayer.
6. A person who has to gain academic credentials: Wants to be equal with others in New Zealand and in the world, in their chosen career.
7. A person who understands teamwork and community: Makes sensible personal decisions and is not swayed by public opinion or the latest fads.
If we insist on this bigger picture of life and the four conditions for living it, we will continue to produce excellent young people who exemplify these characteristics.
To conclude our community consultation on the strategic plan I would like to specifically invite parents and caregivers of our Maori families to a whanau hui on Wednesday 18th August in the staffroom at 7pm to share some kai and have a shared dialogue on the direction you would like to see the school go in over the next three years. All parents and caregivers welcome, not just Maori.
Thank you to those students and families who registered an interest in the April 2022 Cultural Hikoi to Northland as explained in a recent email home. Registrations have now closed, and successful applicants will be notified next week, with a meeting arranged for parents and students with more details. Due to the length of time away and potential demands of this hikoi the decision has been made to restrict the age of students attending to Years 9 and above in 2022. For the Year 7 and 8 students missing out this time there will be further opportunities like this in the future. I would like to thank all the staff who have put so much of their own time and effort into the planning of this event already.