Welcome back to all. It is always great to see our staff and students again after any prolonged break.
My message to our students this week at year level assemblies has touched on some common themes.
Our commitment is to remain open every day for our students. There is no substitute for face-to-face teaching and learning. The consistency offered to our students in this regard is vital in removing any uncertainty that some students may harbour.
Alongside this is the importance of students maintaining their social connections, and their involvement in aspects of wider school life whether that be through sports, arts, social clubs, or other shared pursuits. What goes on outside the classroom is just as important as what goes on inside for their development as young adults. For our Year 12 students, the call will be going out for student leaders to fill Prefect and House Leader roles in 2023. For those younger, their involvement in wider school life is one of many factors considered in the selection process.
This term will prove to be challenging, there is no other way to cut that – attendance for students and staff will likely be disrupted as the result of COVID and/or other winter ailments. However, how each student responds to these challenges, and how each student draws upon the support provided by our staff will be key to their success.
For our senior students (those undertaking NCEA) term 3 is vital, it will be a busy term for internal assessments and ensuring that work is completed. However, it will also be important for preparation for external assessments which take place in term 4. I have spoken to our senior students about how they manage their workload, how they manage their other commitments, and how they should be pro-active in their communication with their teachers and support networks. It is better to broach smaller issues often than to let them build up into what could become something much harder to manage. Smaller shifts are easier to make than major corrections.
For our junior students, Year 9 and 10 are foundational in their preparation for their journey through NCEA. They will also be starting to look ahead to option choices for next year. All students will be supported in this by our academic counselling programmes but again, it is consistency of attendance and engagement that will enable them to make the best decisions.
Advice for all students is to concentrate on those factors that they have control over.
In light of this, if a student is likely to miss school through illness – be pro-active and keep the school informed. If able, they should remain connected to progress being made in each of their classes. Our teachers continue to update and upload resources and guidance through Microsoft Teams. Keeping abreast of this work while away ensures a smoother transition on their return. It also facilitates our teachers planning – enabling support to be targeted and ensuring that assessment can be conducted when the student is ready to be assessed. (Similarly, it aids follow up on missed assessment opportunities).
Finally, this week has been Showcase Week. Three nights of entertainment that this year have truly showcased the talent in our community. For the first time, as well as performances from our incredibly talented students we have had performances provided by some of our contributing schools alongside performances from some of our most talented alumni. I was lucky enough to attend on Wednesday night and loved the energy and enthusiasm provided by students from Waitakere School and Marina View Primary, they did not look out of place and performed with supreme confidence. I was privileged to see the incredible talent of Haden Te Haara (who had spent a year at Berklee College of Music, Boston USA) and Rita Laing (a successful recording artist, look her up on Spotify under the name Rita May). Both graduated in 2016. Their performances were the icing on the cake of an amazing night. Both said it seemed a little strange being back after so long, for me it was as if it were only yesterday that they were performing at the Year 13 Graduation.
Last night, Assistant Principal Hayley Garratt reported back that the levels of Wednesday were no fluke – Huapai District School and Waimauku School providing the outstanding community input, and Ana Jeon and Michelle Edgecombe (both from the class of 2020) returning to provide an insight into where their talent has taken them. Michelle heads to New York shortly to pursue her career in musical theatre.
Tonight (if you are reading this before 7pm) make sure you head along for the final night. I will again be there as Riverhead Primary School and Hobsonville Primary join us. Metitilani Alo (Head Boy 2011) and Ellaphon Tauariki (class of 2015) return to the stage with special guests, and Alan Motufoua (class of 2017) will be debuting his new band alongside our current students.
It is testament to the links that our students forge with our school, and the importance they place in it, that our talented alumni are willing to return to perform on these nights. My thanks go out to each of them, as well as to our Music, Drama, and Dance Departments (students and staff), and of course to Sue McElroy for her work behind the scenes.
This week there have been some unfortunate reminders of the disruption that can be inflicted upon schools and workplaces through choices made by individuals. There have also been clear reminders of the importance that schools place on ensuring the health and safety of their students and staff, and the support that NZ Police provide when that safety may be threatened. Should Massey High School be subject to such a disruption, regular communication will be maintained through our social media platforms, and via email. We would request that all parents and caregivers follow those communications closely should such an incident occur.
As mentioned in the newsletter that went out immediately prior to our return to school, Massey High School is continuing with our strong recommendation that students (and staff) wear masks when indoors. This is inline with advice from the Ministry of Education. Further information can be found in that newsletter. For those students who have been ill, advice is that they remain home until they have been symptom free for 24 hours. As these guidelines evolve, we will keep our community informed.
Finally, next weekend is the final round robin game of the North Harbour First XV competition. Massey High School take on Westlake Boys High School to determine semi-final placements. My gratitude to Massey Rugby Club who are graciously hosting the game on their main field at Moire Park and providing support for the after-match function. The game is also being used to mark the 30th anniversary of the first Massey High School First XV to win the championship and that team (including current staff member Jarrod Framhein) are re-uniting after the game to launch an initiative to support young rugby players.