Saturday, March 3, 2007

We've reached the end of week 4 of our new year. Though things are very much as normal I do feel we're in the best shape we have been for a while. We're certainly basking in a feeling of contentment because of those great NCEA results and there seems to be a wider understanding and, dare I say it, acceptance by the staff of what we're trying to achieve in this school.

Closer analysis of our results shows that we still have a bit to do to lift the achievement of Maori students. It is pleasing to see that Maori students do better here than they would elsewhere. It is also important to note that this is not at the expense of the achievement of all others. In fact, students of all gender and ethnicity are doing well. Only one non-Maori student left Opotiki College last year without at least NCEA L1 and this student was only with us for Year 9 and then a few weeks in 2006 as a Year 12 student. Our challenge is now to ensure that the situation with 25 Maori students leaving without NCEA L1 is improved. Te Kotahitanga will have a huge impact here.

Yesterday we had a great Teacher Only Day with world guru Margaret Thorsborne working with the whole staff on Restorative Principles. Once again I was spellbound. All staff I have spoken with found it very valuable. It was interesting that by morning tea time she was able to identify the couple of staff who were along way from being on board this kaupapa.

I firmly believe that the stuff that we are doing in this area will make for a better world. Teachers will benefit from a less stressful environment, Senior Management Team members wont be burnt out by being sacrificed on the detention pyre, students will develop and learn in a respectful environment where they will hone their emotional awareness and parents will feel respected. All who pass through our school will go on to take their part in the world, wherever that mey be, and be able to make a fine contribution as a result of their time here with us.

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