Kaipara Korero: From the Principal’s desk ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’

From the Principal’s Desk - Light at the end of the tunnel
School has looked very different for our students and teachers during Term 4 at Kaipara

Principal Cindy Sullivan

College. Although challenging due to the very short notice, when Minister Hipkins gave us

the go ahead to open school up, initially for our seniors and then more recently for our junior students we considered all our options. The question we asked ourselves was how can we best meet the needs of all of our students and our Kaipara College community? We were given direction from the Government: Each school “should self-assess their ability to operate safely at Alert Level 3. This includes thinking about how you are going to manage risks and protect staff, students and whânau under Alert Level 3.”
We considered the vaccination rates for our local community and balanced that with the learning and well-being needs of our students and their families. In the end, for our senior students, we decided the best use of all our resources and to balance the health considerations and the learning needs, we would target specific students who needed to be on site to complete work and also complete work in subjects that are more difficult to complete at home. In this way we were also able to support other students to continue to complete their work on-line at home or come to school to be supervised to do so. In this way we were able to provide choice for individual students and their families, while ensuring all students continued to learn.
We supported our senior students one on one through Google meets and phone calls to set individual achievement goals through their Personalised Pathways Plan and students had regular check -ins with their whânau teachers throughout the process. This process has definitely paid off for our senior students as we tracked their progress and celebrated each small and large milestone success. Teaching and learning is definitely more difficult on-line and research tells us that students learn less and more slowly. Also we have certainly seen the critical importance that human connection makes to our well being, ability to learn and to experience success. All our students, when they returned, were excited to see their peers and their teachers. Mask wearing is mandatory and takes a bit of getting used to but our students have been happy to comply, as they are with physical distancing. What a brilliant group of young people we have here at Kaipara College and I would like to commend all our students for the efforts they and their families have made in this most unusual time. I am also grateful to have a diligent, conscientious staff, many of whom have gone above and beyond to stay connected with our students and supported all our young people to achieve their very best in a most difficult circumstance.
I am very much looking forward to welcoming everyone back to school next year, for an exciting year of fun and learning. The traffic light system tells us that schools will not lockdown again, we will mitigate the risk of transfer and manage COVID if or when it arises. Life marches on and happily there is light at the end of the tunnel. At Kaipara College our sense of purpose is clear and our priorities and commitment remain strong: to do the very best for our young people, to support them all to be the best they can be. Collectively we do this and continue to strive to do it better, in partnership with our parents, whânau and wider community.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.
Until next time
Cindy Sullivan, Principal Kaipara College

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