Principal's Comment

Posted Thursday February 29, 2024

We are now well and truly into the season of Lent when we remember and celebrate Jesus’ passion, and the mystery that is his death and resurrection. It is a time for prayer and reflection of who we are as a Catholic school. To “Be Mercy” in all we do is an action rather than something we give up for Lent. I challenge our school to reflect on this as we go through Lent in the build up to Holy week. It was very special to celebrate our opening Mass this week with Fr Sani and we also welcomed the special character review team into the school. Thank you to the parents who came to the community session. Many of our staff and students were interviewed and we look forward to receiving the final report and recommendations. Rosmini House also had their welcome back Mass in our school chapel this week which was followed by a very nice dinner with our boarders and their families. Thank you all to those of you who came along and supported this great start to the year.

This week we welcomed back John Parsons to the school, and it was a privilege once again to hear stories of mistakes young people have made with their digital footprint and the message that we are people of forgiveness. We can learn from these mistakes and strive to do better and be more responsible with technology. I hope the students who attended the sessions got a lot out of this. ​“Empathy is a gift children share between themselves every day, so when we see it, we should acknowledge it, and when possible, reward it” — John Parsons

Catholic schools have always been about academic excellence, but this is not at the exclusion of the education of the whole person. This year we have extended our whānau time to include increased assembly time, where we can come together as a whole school to communicate and listen to shared expectations around our school values as well as come together in prayer. When we come together in our house whānau groups this is an opportunity to help integrate our newest and youngest students into St Peter’s College through Tuakana Teina as well as teaching students the social and emotional tools that help students make good choices, manage their emotions, create positive relationships, and collaborate. Something that has become even more important in the wake of the pandemic as we are called to navigate more social emotional issues than ever before.

A reminder to those of you who were here for the beginning of our whānau time journey and a recap for those of you who are new to our community- whānau time was born from an external pastoral review of the school that told us among many things that students in this school did not feel they had a safe and caring connection with a single adult at St Peter’s College. Whānau time has allowed us to dedicate 2 committed staff members to each whānau group of approximately 25 students to help support, nurture and really get to know each individual student. Finding multiple opportunities to let children know that “We care, that they matter, and that we are going to show up for them no matter what” makes all the difference. When we have those kinds of conversations, students show up in the classroom and they have a better sense of how to process whatever challenges they might be facing.

The benefits of social-emotional learning are difficult to deny. A recent meta-analysis, which reviewed studies of 1 million students over the last 10 years, found that these approaches have consistent, positive effects on student outcomes, including increased social and emotional skills, attitudes, and academic achievement, and fewer problems with conduct and emotional distress.

Thank you for supporting our move to vertical house whānau time. Through this initiative every student, along with caregivers and their subject teachers’ and whānau teachers, will be engaged in developing relationships and setting our expectations for the year. Each one of our students possess God-given gifts and talents and it is our job, and our privilege, to help them become the very best version of themselves aiming high in their aspirations.

We certainly hope that here at St Peter’s, the education of the students is a partnership and that our desires as parents and teachers complement our Catholic tradition which aims to form young adults who will make a difference.

Charity Fulfils the Law