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Principal’s Panui 5 March 2021

Kia ora Te Whanau o Te Kotuku

Another interesting week and a first full week of online learning for 2021. It may not be the last time. Thank you to all staff, students and whanau for doing your bit. For more information on what education looks like at alert level 2 please click here.

As of Thursday, 1150 of the 1380 (83%) students at Rutherford had logged in to the online platform via the Junior and Senior Google classroom pages. At the end of Wednesday, 400 students had not registered and after some follow-up by Tutor Teachers and Deans, another 170 students were accessing the google platform.

We were able to fulfil 77 requests for devices this week to ensure our students could access the distance learning programme. These school devices are taken from our classrooms, where they are a very important resource and used every day. If you registered and collected a school device this week, then the first must-do action for you on Monday is to please return the device to the Info Comms before heading to period 1. 

On Monday, we will return straight to our normal timetable. This means all students are to head to their period 1 class. If students need a reminder of their timetable, they can access it themselves using their ‘My Mahi’ login.

Athletics will run this Wednesday, 10 March. This whole school event is special, it is where we gather as a whole school and is something that helps build that important sense of community that we value at Rutherford. Western Zone Athletics Championships are scheduled for the following Wednesday, 17  March and although this is not the main driver we do need to get the team organised that will represent the mighty Kotuku at this meet. Cross Country was scheduled for Friday, 12 March, however, this event has been postponed until a date later in the year. The regionals for cross country are not until later in the year so we have time to prepare for this.

Following the launch of our Tutor Group Programme on Thursdays this year we have had to review our timetable for this day. The finish time of 2:50pm has been causing congestion on Kotuku Street as Rutherford Primary finishes at this time also. We have decided to change the start time on Thursdays from 8:40am to 8:50am and therefore allowing for school to finish at 3:00pm giving our younger neighbours time to leave school before the big kids are released. More information on our weekly timetable can be found here.

What is our ‘why’ through this whole process? The big picture is that we are helping our family, our neighbours, our community and the country navigate our way through COVID-19. I understand that there are elements of COVID fatigue, but we are still so much better off than so many others from across the globe. So we stick with it, we persevere and we remember that the big picture is the health, safety and wellbeing for firstly yourself, your own whanau and then where possible those around you, who may also need your awhi.

To our senior students and particularly those in Year 11 who may have an increased feeling of anxiety about assessments or workload, if you are doing some of the work you are making progress. The calmer we remain, the more able we are to think logically and problem solve. Whether the problem is looming deadlines or the amount of work that collectively your teachers are expecting of you, you have my permission to let your teacher or your dean know of the challenge you are facing. Keeping it to yourself is something I would prefer you did not do. My must-do, for you, is to ask for help. That is one way you can be kind to yourself.

My other must do expectation is that you display pono/ integrity and be genuine and authentic with what you expect from yourself and understand what your 50% of the mahi is along the journey. By all means, ask for help, but know that it is then your responsibility to follow the advice and guidance. The learning is done by the person doing the mahi.

We gained valuable knowledge and experience during 2020 on how to navigate the academic year, particularly for how the disruption can impact our students pursuing NCEA. What we noticed is that students, when they were at school, were more focussed and used the time available more effectively. Last year we extended the academic year and made adjustments where necessary to assessment calendars. The key thing for families and particularly those whose son or daughter is starting their NCEA journey at year 11 is to keep calm. Last year the mantra was to hurry slowly and take well-considered little steps in the right direction. This is the same for 2021. We won’t rush into decisions that may then need to be reconsidered. Last year our NCEA results including endorsement levels were well above national averages. 

The analogy from last year remains the same; we are all in the same COVID storm but the boats that we are in as we navigate our way through this as individuals are different. The following is always uppermost in my mind, one size fits one.

And alongside this;
Me mahi tahi tatou, mo te oranga o te katoa
We must work together for the wellbeing of all.

Nga mihi mahana

Gary Moore 

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