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30 June 2019

Kia ora koutou

I hope Term 2 has ended well for you – it has felt a very busy term with plenty going on within and outside of the school curriculum.  I enjoyed attending performances of ‘Hairspray Jnr’ our first school production in seven years .  This was a huge undertaking and many congratulations to the students involved and to all the staff that supported them. Thank you to parents and whānau for supporting the performance and all those students who played an active role.  The same might be said of our Fia Fia night and Pasifika Fusion – how good it was to witness our College win the kava bowl for best cultural performance, and to see this award come back to Levin again!  I had the privilege of watching both Waiopehu and Horowhenua Colleges celebrating together after the event.  It was wonderful to see our students enjoying their success and demonstrating pride and passion in celebrating their identity and culture.

On the last day of term we sadly farewelled our School Counsellor Gary O’Brien (QSM).  Gary has had a huge impact not only in supporting students and whānau over these last two decades, but also through all his involvement in sport, culture and the arts, and in service to the wider community.   He will be greatly missed.  We warmly welcome Sancia Duncan to the position of School Counsellor and look forward to all that she will bring to the role.  We finished Term 2 with a successful Open Night for Year 8 students and their whānau. Again this was a significant undertaking involving many of our staff and current students. Thank you to all who contributed!  There will be further opportunity for Year 8 students to visit and experience Horowhenua College in Term 3.  We welcome new students and are constantly working towards giving them the best learning and growing experiences we can!

At our last meeting we spent a good proportion of our time discussing  ‘Curriculum 2020’. Our teaching staff and the Senior Leadership Team have put an enormous amount of effort into developing a curriculum that presents students with choices, promotes meaningful pathways through the school and is based on sound educational evidence and research on what works.  Many of you responded to an online survey earlier in the year, and your responses helped to inform the choices and options discussed as part of this revision of the curriculum.   It is great to know we have a sound plan and clear sense of direction which will support our students to succeed academically, and which will extend students across all year levels. We also asked Jill Thomson, teacher in charge of the Gifted and Talented Programme to speak at our last meeting as we were keen to hear what is being done to identify, encourage and provide opportunities for students who demonstrate giftedness across all our four pillars – academic, sports, arts and culture and service.  It is great to see progress being made in extending students through this programme, and anticipate the programme developing further over the next couple of years.   We aim to know all our students well and to have high expectations for progress for students of diverse abilities.  Again the Board discussed our traffic-light programme for tracking and assisting students who may be in danger of falling behind and it was helpful to see the mechanisms for flagging and acting on assessments of students’ progress.
You may be aware that we recently had School Trustee Elections.   At closure of nominations we had 5 nominations for the trustee positions available so we did not proceed to election.  I am delighted we have our same team willing to continue for another three years.  For those parents new to the school, and especially given our parent community didn’t see our election ‘briefs’,  I thought it was useful to reproduce the candidate statements we prepared to give you a feel for who we are as a Board and the areas of expertise  and interest we are involved in.   Sadly, at the Board election in June we farewelled David Tate our staff trustee.  David’s calm manner and his genuine concern for the wellbeing of staff he represented on the board meant he did an excellent job of bringing a staff perspective to the board table.

His service and commitment is very much appreciated and we will miss his thoughtful contributions and sense of humour.  However, it was a delight to welcome our new staff representative Hanchen Johnson to our last meeting. Hanchen is enthusiastic about this role and we are already appreciating her input to our discussions.
I feel privileged to be able to continue to serve you on our board. As a Board of Trustees we strive to do our best to support the wellbeing of students and staff, and to lift and foster student achievement for all our tamariki over the next three years. Thank you – we do appreciate your support.

Have a safe holiday, and keep warm and well!

Juliana Mansvelt
Board Chair
Horowhenua College Board of Trustees

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