Welcome to the fresh page that is the new academic year at Waikato Diocesan School. We hope 2017 will be remembered as the year of
Wai Ora, a year dedicated to consciously encouraging our young women to protect their health and well-being and to embrace the joys of learning for its own sake, while still working to achieve their personal best with support from home and school.
The importance of life balance to promote wellness of mind, body and spirit will be a constant theme this year and it is fitting that in July we aim to begin work on a Wellness Centre that we have envisioned to support this objective for the future. The house at the River Road entrance will be totally refurbished and will bring together all the health services we offer, including the new full-time nurse, doctor, physiotherapist and guidance counsellors for a holistic approach to health and well-being.
On a related subject, it is very reassuring to observe the positive impact our new Traffic Management Plan is having on pedestrian safety on site. Girls are using the assigned crossings and traffic speed and flow has improved markedly as a result of the innovations implemented over the summer break. Thank you for your part in reducing speed and using the drop off zones as they are intended.
I am also pleased to report that our 2016 NCEA results are every bit as impressive as we have come to expect. Particularly noteworthy trends are the significant increases in Excellence endorsements at Level 1 and Level 2 and the record number of Scholarships and Outstanding scholarships awarded last year. The full provisional results are included in this newsletter and we are looking forward to celebrating these achievements in the Academic assembly next Friday. Parents are warmly invited to join us for this occasion.
Programmes of learning are already well underway throughout the school and we are very pleased to have resolved most timetable clashes and kept classes at, or more often below, maximum numbers. Thank you for your support in ensuring that your daughter's considered their subject choices carefully last year to avoid any unnecessary disruption at the start of the year. The new subject confirmation booking procedure proved to be a smooth and effective process.
Unfortunately, with the increasing number of courses available to senior students due in part to multi-levelling, it is difficult to provide every possible combination of senior subjects. This is a reality faced by all schools and I can promise you we do our very best to accommodate the maximum number of timetable requests with the resources we have available.
Interestingly, our Year 9 cohort this year is drawn from an unprecedented 37 contributing schools, which has been an interesting challenge for the class placement process. Thank you for your patience as our Year 9 students settle into their new classes. Experience tells us that they will integrate quickly and once the spread of prior learning is identified their academic programmes will progress in earnest.
It is reassuring to begin the academic year with our new chaplain in place after her installation at our December carol service. Reverend Jacqui is quickly establishing herself as our spiritual guide and our new full-time nurse, Barbara Gaylor, librarian Cassidy Grace and assistant houseparent, Monique Berger are quickly proving their worth as the year gathers pace. Aimie Anderson is another new face in the maths department and is quickly proving to be an asset.
We have high expectations of a positive and successful year ahead but we hope we have your support in our determination to protect our girls from their perfectionist tendencies and the sometimes unrealistic expectations they have of themselves. We fully endorse and encourage high standards and challenging goals, but not at the expense of physical, mental or emotional health.
I hope you will indulge me in sharing a little piece of advice that I stumbled across on Facebook and that seemed to encapsulate what is at the heart of our vision for our girls and their Dio experience:
Don’t become preoccupied with your child’s academic ability, but instead teach them to sit with those sitting alone. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to offer help. Teach them to be a friend to the lonely. Teach them to encourage others. Teach them to think about other people. Teach them to share. Teach them to look for the good. This is how they will change the world.
Clearly, we all appreciate the importance of academic achievement for the future of our young women but this is a salutary reminder of the importance of their development as worthy human beings.