Tēnā koutou katoa
Welcome again to any families joining our Horowhenua College family in Term 1! We are more than half-way through the term and these last six weeks have brought significant change to college life.
Foremost on your mind may be the evolving COVID-19 virus situation. At both our Health and Safety and School Board meetings we have been discussing our preparedness including ensuring our Pandemic Plan is up-to-date. We are regularly receiving advice from the Ministry and the School Trustees Association. At time of writing the virus is not currently spreading in the community beyond people who have had direct contact with a traceable source of infection. It is also important to remember that the main risk is students spreading the disease to others in the community who are vulnerable, not that students will become seriously ill themselves. If the situation should change the Horowhenua College Board of Trustees will make a decision on schooling based on advice from the Ministry of Health. We will continue to keep you informed through Mr Congdon, who as tumuaki is the person in charge of all operational decisions regarding COVID-19. Meanwhile we will continue to promote good handwashing and hygiene practices among our staff and students, maintain normal routines to the extent we can, and focus on addressing how we might best meet our students’ educational needs over both the short and the longer term. It has been very hard to see our school trips to Japan and Europe cancelled and we recognise how disappointing this has been for parents,students and staff, particularly given the long term fund raising, and the financial sacrifices made by our families. It has also been disappointing to postpone the school ball and to cease holding assemblies, but we recognise that the health and safety of our staff, students and their whanau is paramount.
At our first meeting for 2020 we also welcomed Mrs Megan Bolton to the Board. Megan was selected to the position and her financial and government experiences address a gap created by the departure of Mr Dylan Kirona from the board as he took up a teaching position in the school. We are absolutely delighted to have Megan on Board – she has a wealth of experience from her work and community connections, and significant governance experience too (being a previous Chair of both the College and a primary school). Here is a piece from Megan, by way of introduction:
I was previously on the BOT of Horowhenua College from 2005 until 2010, and prior to that with the Levin North School Board. I am looking forward to being part of the governance team again. I believe I can bring an objective approach to this position, and can work towards ensuring our students are assisted in getting the most out of their educational opportunities at Horowhenua College.
At the first meeting I attended in 2020, the Board met with the Head Student team. They are an impressive, informed and articulate group of young people – who are a credit to the teachers and mentors who have taught them over the previous 4 years (and of course their parents) I look forward to watching their progress, and that of all students, with interest.
My previous (and current) financial experience has been running a small business with my husband. The business relies on constantly assessing financial needs and expenditure, to ensure the on-going success and future proofing of the business.
My understanding of the financial obligations of the Board of Trustees, under National Administrative Guideline 4, is to allocate funds reflecting the college’s priorities, to monitor and control expenditure and to ensure the preparation and auditing of the Annual Accounts.
Ideally the financial reports to the BOT should indicate when we need to stop spending, when we need to stop and take a second look, and when we are able to spend.
I look forward to my time as a selected representative on the Board of Horowhenua College.
As Megan indicates, our first meeting for the year was a full one, with our awesome team of prefects introducing themselves and their portfolios. We asked them to reflect on what makes Horowhenua College distinctive, something we will capitalise on through our promotion as we move through the year. We moved and accepted our School Charter with new annual goals for 2020. These goals focus on 1) the identification and sharing of best practice that further develops relevance, engagement, innovation and cross-faculty learning, 2) consolidating our culturally responsive relational pedagogy (which means continually to grow inclusive relationships between staff and students which recognise cultural diversity and identity 3) to consolidate restorative discipline practices in the school and the procedures which support this and 4) communicating to our community who we are at NUA and what we do here. We also focussed on how we did against our 2019 academic goals and reflected on next steps for us as a college.
These are fast-moving times, and rest assured as a board we will continue to do our best to ensure the wellbeing of our staff and students are supported.
Noho ora mai
Juliana Mansvelt (BOT Chair)