Rector's Message - August 2020

By Dave Thorp | Posted: Wednesday August 12, 2020

Kia ora everyone. Things change quickly. We were just getting used to the resumption of normal school life and then Covid-19 reared its ugly head again!

 As I write this, we are two days into Alert Level 2 - hopefully, it won’t last long.

Fortunately, we are not flying blind. We dusted off last term’s Alert Level 2 Health and Safety Plan, made sure it was still fit for purpose and got on with it. Teaching and learning will continue without major change, but there will be some frustrating times in our sporting and cultural worlds. Full school assemblies have been put on hold and most of this weekend’s sport has been cancelled. All sporting events will comply with the conditions set down for Alert Level 2, but each organising body will make decisions appropriate to their particular sport. Coaches and managers will keep you informed of developments. Also, the Timaru Boys’ High School authorised Facebook page is a great place for up-to-date information.

Should the worst happen and we are placed in Alert Levels 3 or 4, our online learning programme will be rolled out. Teachers, parents and students worked together well last time, and we know we can do it again if we have to. We are responding to new developments as they happen and parents will be informed as soon as decisions are made. Watch this space!

Our Senior Practice External Examinations start next Wednesday, August 19. Regardless of what some boys may say, these practice examinations are definitely important. This is an opportunity for students to gauge how they are progressing in their academic subjects and for teachers to identify any gaps in student understanding. When not sitting examinations, students should be studying for them - that’s what study leave is for.

Our students have engaged well this year and we are confident about overall achievement. However, one area of focus for the teaching staff in 2020 is to challenge disengagement when they see it. When parents do the same thing it increases the likelihood of success. If your son is taking senior exam subjects, ask him how his preparation is going. If your son is not taking any exam subjects, ask him about his overall achievement in NCEA - you can check this on the parent portal. If your son is a junior student, ask him if he is completing all his assignments to the best of his ability and ask if you can see some of them. We all want the same thing - young people achieving to their potential - and a joint teacher/parent approach is the best way to success.

At one stage this year, we thought that no winter sport or cultural activities would take place. As soon as they were given the all clear, the national and regional bodies went to work writing safety guidelines and setting up competitions and events. However, nothing would have happened on the ground without our local army of volunteers - parents, teachers, coaches, managers, tutors, officials, club members, supporters, etc. It has been so heartening to see the efforts made by our school community to ensure that our boys can fully participate in and enjoy the best extra-curricular programmes on offer. Thank you so very, very much!

We have had three great interschool exchanges this term - St Andrew's College, Otago Boys’ High School and John McGlashan College. We are really looking forward to the Waitaki exchange on August 26 - hopefully, it will still take place.

The reappearance of Covid 19 will have prompted some anxiety in students and their families. Please feel free to contact us about any issue your son may have. In the short time that I have been here as Rector, I have witnessed a wonderfully supportive and positive spirit in our school community and I know that we will look out for each other. Kia kaha.