Principal's Pānui

24 February 2023

As we come to the end of our first full week back at school we can reflect on a great start to the year from our staff and students. The resilience shown by those who have been directly affected by both the Auckland floods at the end of January and Cyclone Gabrielle has been admirable, as has been the willingness of members of our community to help others. With further wet weather predicted for this weekend (and with heavy rain falling right now) we hope that our community remains safe.

Our roll has grown this year, particularly at Years 9 and 11, and it is noticeable with the real buzz present around the school. I make a point of trying to get out and around the school every day at either interval or lunchtime as there is no better indication of how the mood in the school is than our students. What has been great to see is students occupying the new open areas that have been created by the removal of old buildings, and the social interaction taking place as a result.

Our new Year 9 students (over 380 of them) are quickly establishing their new normal, whether that be places to meet with friends or finding the most efficient route between classes. As always, despite the different schools they come here from – they are forming new friendships quickly.

Our message for all students is that this year is a year of opportunity, regardless of the year level they are in. It could be discovering a new subject that they would not previously have given much thought to, playing a new sport, auditioning for Production (this year it is Mamma Mia), or joining a club with like minded people. While their main focus is developing the knowledge they need for the years ahead – they mustn’t lose sight of the important part that wider school life plays in their development as young adults.

In a few weeks we welcome the return of Polyfest after several COVID disrupted years and already a large number of students across several groups have started their practices. Likewise, pre-season training for a number of teams has begun. All of these activities rely in the support of teachers and parents, and I’d like to express my gratitude for the support that those committed adults provide.

We will be acknowledging the highest achieving students in the coming weeks with the return of our Scholar’s Assembly – we will also be announcing the new Silver Badge Prefects for 2023.

Our Gold Badge Prefects and House Leaders are already busy planning various events for the wider student body and are being more visible at our assemblies. We have an outstanding crop of young leaders this year and I look forward to how they continue to exhibit that leadership in the coming months.

Our fortnightly reporting will resume in the next couple of weeks and information explaining this will be sent out to parents shortly. The link between you and the teachers of your children is an incredibly important one, and as a parent I know how important it is to have a window into your child’s progress on a timely basis – allowing you to take part in their education.

For our Year 12 and 13 students, the pathway they are on now is crucial. We need to ensure that students at these levels are in subjects that they are passionate about, and in a course that provides them the right qualifications for the area they want to move into beyond school. Over the coming weeks we will be working with these students through Academic Mentoring so that they set appropriate goals and are aware of the ongoing support that they need to succeed.

This year we continue to further integrate digital learning across the school. For us, we need to be mindful of doing this in a way that does not create barriers for our students but also allows our students to become confident digital citizens. A reminder that Chromebooks are able to be used at school which opens up many lower cost (and more durable) options for whānau.  

As mentioned last year, Massey High School has become eligible for the Healthy Lunches in Schools programme, meaning that every student here is eligible for free lunch every day. We are currently working through potential suppliers to ensure that the options provided are varied and enticing – and we will be canvasing students for their input. Many other large schools provide a varied and attractive menu for their students in a way that even allows for students on trips to be provided with lunch. We are looking to start the provision of lunches in Term 2.

On another note, there has been a common theme at assemblies for our students which is never a pleasant topic to broach…..toilets. Our toilet facilities were refurbished over the holiday period, and we are committed to keeping them clean, accessible, and supplied with essentials. For our students – it is their responsibility to treat the facilities with respect so that they remain as clean and accessible as possible.

We are continuing to develop our channels of communication with parents, our whānau handbook, website and Schoolbridge will be continuously updated.

Ngā mihi

Alastair Fairley, Principal