Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Welcome back to the beginning of Term 2. I hope the holidays provided time to recharge batteries, reflect on a solid first term, and also enjoy time with friends and family, where ever you were. Term 2 is a busy term with lots happening, coming up we have Big Sing, Show Quest, winter sports and the formal. It will be great to share all these wonderful events with your daughters.
I went to a conference in the holidays and it was really interesting. It was also quite hard sitting listening to people all day, from 8.30-5.00, which reminded me what it was like to be in class.
But it also made me think. About my own learning and about our students. It made me think about how the world is changing and how school has to change with it.
The speakers at the conference were all world leaders in their field – from Finland, Canada and America. They were amazing, and also frightening because they had some pretty strong messages;
- They believe that the way we currently run schools is alienating students, who are disengaging from deep learning.
- They defined deep learning as learning that sticks with you for the rest of your life, not learning that you do to pass a test, and then forget about.
- They think that schools run on an old fashioned and obsolete model and that we are trying really hard to do the best by our students, but from a structure that is no longer relevant
- They challenged us about what we value as a school and as teachers – and we all talked about honesty, respect, giving things a go, failing, self belief – our values really. And they asked us – if that is what you value, is that what you test? We value one set of skills and test another – so do we give our students a mixed message?
- There is a global crisis in terms of adolescent wellbeing and poor mental health being directly related to device use and the number of hours spent in front of a screen. So much so, that in some western countries some students spend more time in front of a screen than they do sleeping.
- The research shows that young people are increasingly feeling responsible for fixing the world, climate change, clean water, social justice and that the adults need to acknowledge that we need young people’s help to fix those problems– and let them show us what they need.
- Young people globally are losing trust in traditional structures of society – and Greta Thunberg – who led the Strike 4 Climate change movement has personified that. She is honest, blunt and fearless.
- All the research shows that helping humanity, and working with people are intrinsic motivators – that help you to help yourself and others. Students engaged in their learning show a strong correlation with interest in social justice and that is very evident from all that many of our students do here – the Climate March, Amnesty International, Zonta, the LGBTQI group.
There is no doubt that your daughters will inherit a world that is different to the one we live in now – and to fix whatever problems there will be – we need them. We need your daughters to have the skills and attitude that we talk about all the time here. We need them to be Can Do – ready to find solutions, solve problems, think about and find different ways of doing things.
Micheal Fullan a world leader on educational leadership said schools should be teaching young people to be good at learning and good at life.
And people who are good at life, are good at connecting with others. Those emotional soft skills of compassion, empathy, love and showing emotions are going to be so important in the future
And I guess that is what we are trying to help your daughters to do and model ourselves.
Emotion – responding to events, having feelings good and bad. Some of the most admired people in the world are those who we feel relate to us, have shared experiences, understand our feelings, through performances, drama, music.
I played a song for our students about heartbreak and asked them to think about the emotion it evoked. How did it make them feel, did it remind them of their own experiences, feelings or describe how they have felt at any stage in their lives.
What was special about the song, was that is was completely generated by computer algorithms. Algorithms composed the music and the lyrics. A computer called Watson designed by IBM is even credited as co-collaborator. In the last few years, IBM’s technology platform has come a long way, exploring cognitive creativity in fashion, food, movies and more. Now a computer can create a song about heartbreak.
Watson collated five years of analyzed cultural data. He’s looking at patterns of cultural themes and social media and conversations and then providing it in a way that it was matched to music.
This really gets us thinking and questioning how we feel about this kind of advance. A challenge for all of us is how are we going to keep connecting, caring, sharing and giving in a world, where a computer can generate our emotions. How do we know what is real? How do we stay real and keep that sense of doing something worthwhile, engaging with the world in a real way?
Standing at the ANZAC service last Thursday, at dawn in the cold,watching soldiers talk of war, still such an important part of our history, singing songs and hymns, that were written about a real experience, made me wonder about how can you replace that?
All I ask is that we think, think deeply, about what is important to us, who we are, how we feel and who we care about and never lose sight of the importance of humanity, being real and sharing real emotions.
Dunedin Tertiary Open Day
There will be no formal classes for Year 13 students on Monday 6 May
Dunedin Tertiary Open Day 2019 for Year 13 students and their families will be run over two days this year, Sunday 5 May and Monday 6 May. However, Monday is still the main day with all the usual activities – Expo, tours, presentations, sessions, etc. Sunday is a supplementary afternoon comprising of additional Health Science First Year presentations, college and campus tours, and a variety of other sessions and activities (see programme https://www.otago.ac.nz/about/otago708121.pdf).
This event gives Year 13 students an opportunity to explore the various options within the city, exploring facilities and tertiary study opportunities. This is a valuable part of their decision making process for next steps after school and as such there will be no formal classes for Year 13 on Monday.
Pink Ribbon Breakfast
God most holy,
If in war some by their actions brought peace closer, then strengthen our hope.
If some by their actions showed compassion to others, then strengthen our resolve to be kind and generous.
If we dream of a better world, then strengthen our will to make this happen.
Renew in us the longing for your peace and also the will to work for it.
Take wing O messengers of peace;
Carry these words to the multitude.
Sow them in wisdom;
Sow them in truth.
May we be your messengers of peace O God.
This we ask in the name of the Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
And may the love of God – Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life – enfold us all.
Perfectionism has been a topic that has generated much discussion of late. Recent research has seen a dramatic rise in the number of young people being impacted by this never-ending search for perfection and its associated dangers. Click here to learn more about social psychologist Thomas Curran’s investigation into the causes of this issue and how we can turn the tide by celebrating the joys of imperfection.
On Thursday evening Sings Hilda performed at the opening ceremony for the National Sweet Adelines Convention. Sweet Adelines International is a worldwide organization of women barbershop singers that extends over five continents with more than 500 choruses and 1,200 quartets.
The organisers of this event asked specifically for Sings Hilda, based on the choir’s reputation from past years’ performances. The choir upheld our proud tradition of a high standard of performance where they sang Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie arranged by Huddie Leadbetter, Ave Maris Stella by David Hamilton, and Kaval Sviri arranged by Lyondev.
Reminder – Vietnam Cultural Tour 2020
We are planning to take a cultural tour to Vietnam in 2020.
This trip will be very similar to the trips we have previously taken and will be open to any students who will be in Year 12 or 13 in 2020. Parents are also very welcome to join the trip.
The dates for this trip will be – 7th -26th April 2020
The estimated cost for this will be $6320 (student) and $5820 (parent)
If you are going to join the trip for 2020 could you please get back to us by Friday 17th May with the following details:
Student’s Year Group
Names of any other family planning to travel
Please contact me if you have any further questions. My contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Nicole Heaton, Natalie Hutchens, Penny Keeling, Meg McLaughlan and Jessica Scott who qualified for the NZ National Age Group Swimming Championships and competed 2 weeks ago in Wellington. There were over 700 swimmers aged 12-18, all competing for a NZ ranking for their age group. Special mention goes to the finalists:
Jessica and Natalie who both won a Silver medal with their 400m Freestyle Relay Team.
Jessica who won a Gold Medal in the 200m Fly, 2 Bronze Medals in the 50m & 100m Fly, 5th in the 200IM and 9th in the 50m Free.
Natalie who came 7th in the 50m Free.
Nicole who came 9th in the 200m Backstroke.”
Commercial Vehicle Centre
Steph Post, Reany Rust, Sophie Conner and Lily Chamberlain – Photography and videography.
Reminder – Board of Trustee Elections
Board of Trustee elections will be held in June this year. At its last meeting, the Board resolved to move to staggered elections which means that 3 of the 5 elected parent representative positions will be for the full 3 year term and 2 will be for an 18 month term. Nominations will be called for from 10 May 2019 for both the 3 year and 18 month terms. If you are interested in contributing to the governance of the school, please consider standing for election. More details on the role of the Board can be obtained from the School Trustees Association website https://www.trustee-election.co.nz/. Nomination forms will be available10 May 2019 and will be posted to all eligible people on the voting role.
Campaign Launch Invitation