I was extremely impressed by the number of students and parents who attended our recent Option Evening. The commitment of parents to their children’s learning is a key component to success at school so any opportunity to reinforce this responsibility is appreciated. I would also like to explain the importance and benefits of your child/ren attending a Junior College and what some of our plans for 2017 include.
The model of a Junior College is unique as it provides our Year 9 and 10 students with opportunities they may not get at other traditional schools. I have compared our senior students to trees in a forest who do not have any competition for light above them and so can grow taller and stronger. I see this every day when I speak to our students who show a maturity and sense of responsibility resulting from the leadership positions they hold or for being simply the “elders” of the school.
Aside from the programmes we traditionally run we are “continually evolving” our practice to engage all our students. In this regard we are conscious of the need to develop programmes and opportunities specifically for our Year 9 and 10 students.
Some new and existing opportunities we will provide in 2017 include:
A significant change next year is the introduction of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. This promises to take our students to another level of learning. The differentiated (personalised) learning opportunities with devices familiar to students is exciting and heralds another dimension to the collaborative environment already so successful in terms of engagement and achieving authentic outcomes.
Our commitment to preparing students for the future with specialist option subjects and we review our options every year. We are introducing Digital Technology in Year 9 and 10 next year. This exciting subject includes coding, electronics and robotics which will appeal to our aspiring engineers and programmers. We also took a strategic decision to introduce Mandarin to Year 7 and 8 students this year and this will be offered to Year 9’s next year as well as Spanish – “the international languages of business”.
Mindful of the need to orientate students to the NCEA assessment system we offer “low stakes” NCEA Internal Achievement Standards to Year 10 students. These credits may be carried over to Year 11 and assist students to reach level 1 with less pressure than students in other schools. The knowledge of the process is an asset for students entering this relatively complicated assessment system.
The Accelerate Classes in Year 9 and 10 provide our top academic students opportunities to collaborate on a high level; engage in deeper learning and enter national and international academic competitions which challenge their intellectual abilities. However the DEEP programme also provides other students the opportunity to extend themselves in enrichment programmes reflecting a huge variety of interests and passions.
To complement the opportunities provided in our extra-curricular programme we will be offering students the chance to enrol for the William Pike Challenge Award as a DEEP option which will appeal to the adventurous who have a passion for the outdoors. The award helps prepare our students for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme which is offered at Ormiston Senior College. It fits naturally into our curriculum as the service and activity components can be done through either Whanau excursions or special Outdoor Education trips.
We also intend building on the tremendous growth in participation in all our cornerstone activities and reach even greater heights of achievement. We have been particularly pleased with the success of our Saturday morning sports teams (netball, cricket and soccer) who have competed against top teams from other schools and the phenomenal growth of basketball.
I trust this help you to understand something of the new opportunities our students will enjoy next year.
Growing greatness – kia mana ake