Kia ora e te whanau
We are reaching the halfway point in the school year, it is the middle of winter, it is dark in the morning when we leave to go to school and work, and for those with sports practices and jobs after school, it can also be dark when we return home. At this week’s full school assembly, I talked about the concept of time and how precious it is. We get one chance at life on this earth, and we want all our students to make the very best of it. To be successful in all that they do. People often spend time discussing their plans for their days off, whether it is time out of work or out of school. School tends to consume a lot of time on weekdays. There is the normal timetable, possibly some sports or music fixture after school and not much space for anything but homework between dinner and bedtime. However, the weekend gives us two clear days, so it is no wonder that we discuss our leisure plans and look forward to Fridays, when we can begin to do what we want to do rather than what someone else tells us to do.
There is one problem with looking forward to something special, it can sometimes encourage us to live our lives in the future. The problem is that it could take away some of our enjoyment of the present. A long time ago, a Christian man called Augustine prayed, ‘Lord, make me good, but not yet.’ Augustine prayed like that because he was having a great time and he didn’t want the fun to stop. Of course, the present is not always enjoyable; sometimes, it might feel like it is hardly bearable. Looking forward to a treat in the future, like a holiday or a special film, can help us when we feel a bit down.
However, living in the future is not really living at all. It is just making pictures in our imagination. The present - what the theologian Paul Tillich called ‘the eternal now’ - is all we’ve got. Our lives are much richer when we try to appreciate what is happening right now.
Our lives are made up of tiny moments and each one is important. We can spend each moment doing the right thing or the wrong thing. If we squander our hours, ruin our days, and throw away our weeks, our lives will be empty. However, if we see each hour as an opportunity, if we spend each day growing and if we use each week to move ahead, our lives will be full. Here at St Peter’s College, we want all our students to strive for, in the here and now, their own individual goals towards excellence in whatever field builds a fire in their belly.
As already mentioned in a previous newsletter, the Education Review office (ERO) is operating a new partnership model with schools. ERO has shifted from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement. This more differentiated approach uses a developmental evaluation that reflects individual schools’ context, culture and needs. It aims to strengthen the capability of all schools through embedding a continuous improvement approach, strengthening schools’ own engagement with, and accountability to whanau. St Peter’s College has begun this partnership with Mrs Christine Gold and the initiating phase where they meet with the BoT chair and Principal as well as some key leadership staff has already taken place. They are now working with us to decide on an evaluation plan for the next few years. They are looking at our strengths and weaknesses and will be putting together a focus on what will be most useful for our continuous improvement. At this stage, this focus is most likely to be on Year 9 and 10 literacy which has had significant decreases in achievement over the last four years.
So, it is perfect timing that we now look to the future of St Peter’s and begin planning our school charter for 2022-2024. A charter sets the direction for the school and identifies the priorities the board expects the Principal to be leading. Last weekend the BoT along with Gigi Hollyer from the New Zealand Trustees Association met to plan the strategic direction of the school for the next three years. The BoT has overall responsibility for developing and reviewing the school's charter. It plays an active role in setting the strategic direction and part of this includes consulting with all our stake holders. This includes staff, students, and parents as well as local iwi. Therefore, we are excited to share with you our ideas and dreams for the school next week and welcome your input. I will be available in the fishbowl on the following mornings and afternoon to share the direction and invite you to add your input. These times are designed to fit around your drop off and pick up routines at school. Some BoT members and I will also be available on Thursday evening for those of you who work during the day. After next week a follow up online survey will be sent out to you all to add further ideas and input, especially for those of you who can’t physically make it into the school:
Strategic planning consultation times:
Your views, dreams, and aspirations for your children’s futures here at St Peter’s College is very important to us so please come along and have your say about the future direction of our school.
Charity fulfils the Law