Kia Ora, Kia Orāna, Tālofa Lāvā, Bula Vinaka, Malo e lelei, Warmest greetings and welcome to our Forest View High School 2019 Senior Prizegiving.
Message from the Principal
Ko Te Aroha te maunga
Ko Waihou te awa
Ko Matua te waka
Nō Tamaki Makaurau ahau, ko Te Aroha raua ko Tokoroa tōku kāinga ināianei
Ko Steve toku hoa rangatira
Ko Boston te mātāmua. He tama ia.
Ko Ella te pōtiki. He kotiro ia.
Ko Susan toku mama
Ko Charley toku papa
Ko ahau te Tumuaki mo te kura o te wao nui ā tāne
Ko Jocelyn Hale ahau
Nō reira, tēna koutou, tēna koutou, tēnā tatou katoa
What a year this has been! I would firstly like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for being so friendly and welcoming. Tokoroa is a lovely community to be part of and one of the things that makes it so special is the diversity of cultures. I feel very privileged to be in this role and part of the community.
As I reflect on this year I think the theme of CHANGE is a very pertinent basis for this speech. I have been thinking about the word change and how each of the letters within this have shaped the year at Forest View High School. Coming into the position of Principal with no previous experience of or connection with Tokoroa or Forest View High School has been very interesting and rewarding. There have been lots of moments of joy and amazement about all of the things that “just happen” here. I have often found that people just take these things for granted but many of these are unique to Tokoroa, which is very special. There have also been many moments I have wondered how some of the systems and ways of being have helped our students be given the very best, which they clearly deserve.
Since joining the Forest View whānau and looking at things from another perspective and through a fresh set of eyes I have had some questions and wonderings. I have found that when you are used to working in a place and a space there are things you just get used to and don't question or see any longer. Sometimes this includes all the richness and “Gold” which exists in a community. I am happy to report that there is much to celebrate at Forest View High School and a strong foundation to build our future work on. I am grateful and acknowledge respectfully all the former leaders of our kura for the contribution they have made to this place and to the board of trustees past and present for your passion for making sure Forest View High School is always operating to the highest standards possible.
C - Who was in the centre of the circle? By this I mean who were we as teachers and educators working for and who was in the centre of the circle at Forest View High School. Upon arriving here, although a school with heart and whanaungatanga I found a place where the students were not always in the centre when decisions were being made. It is easy and it is quite common for schools to become teacher centred over a period of time. This year has been all about firmly putting the students, not just some, but all of them back in the centre of the circle. Decisions around staffing, property, curriculum etc have all been made with the students firmly in the centre. Students after all are why schools exist and all the staff associated with schools have jobs, we must always remember this in our daily work.
H - Heart. When thinking about moving forward you always need to know where you have come from. This includes finding the great things that are at the heart of a place. Forest View has many great things at the heart of what we do and why we exist. To find these involves listening to the stories of a place, talking to people, getting involved in community activities and finding out what people think is the heart of our school. Whanaungatanga is a word that is constantly used when people describe Forest View High School- we feel like a family and we care about each other. I have seen our staff and students go the extra mile this year, caring for each other in times of sadness, sorrow, ill health and also when they can just sense that people are struggling. From this I take that we are in good heart as we continue this journey. There have been some tough years at Forest View with a decreasing roll taking its toll on staff and the wider community, despite this we acknowledge the hard times and we look forward to the new more prosperous times for Forest View High School.
A - Achievement. This year we have been working differently and rethinking the way we talk about achievement, particularly with our senior students. NCEA is a game that at times I have felt that we have not been playing as well as we could. This year we have had a focus on student tracking, visual wall displays of our students gorgeous faces along with their achievement and career aspirations. Students have been encouraged to know where they are at with their achievement and what they need to do next. Ownership of learning and being able to be proud of achieving, are things I have seen improve dramatically with our students this year. Many students have said to me with beaming smiles they have now passed their NCEA level and earlier in the year they weren’t sure they would be able to do it, but they got there, following this some have begun talking about gaining an endorsement! This turn around is dramatic and the saying that success breeds success, certainly is true.
N - New timetable and uniform. This year we have worked to create a new timetable and structure for the school beginning in 2020. This has been designed to modernise the way our students are taught and to provide the opportunity for students to explore some things that they are passionate about in their learning time. We will be having different length of lessons and a simple to follow one week timetable. A key element to this will be a newly formed tutor structure that will not resemble anything we have done previously. Teachers will be responsible for knowing all about their tutor students and being the significant adult for them within the school and for parents and whānau to connect with. This new structure provides the opportunity for quality, specific, targeted teaching time. The creation of two new Senior Leader positions has been made to provide structure and support for this valuable learning time. Along with this we will introduce semesters to allow students more flexibility with their learning programmes.
On top of this we are introducing a new uniform for our school, with this only being compulsory for our incoming Year 9 students. Year 13 students from the beginning of 2020 will be required to wear school uniform. All other year levels are only required to wear our new jackets should they wish to wear a jacket. Our new uniform is very smart with a complete mix and match, variety of garments. We are proud of this new uniform and we would like this pride to extend to our students in the way they wear their uniform and conduct themselves at school. The uniform is one way we are using to raise the standards for our students.
G - Greater together - This year there has been a big focus on opening our school up to our community and being an active part of our Kahui Ako. Upon my arrival at Forest View I was quickly informed that our school had been closed off to our wider community and other schools for a number of years. What a sad waste of valuable resources to not welcome others in. This year we have welcomed others in to use our school facilities to demonstrate our willingness and desire to be a true part of our wider community. The Tokoroa Schools Choir is one example of a wonderful use of our school for the greater good of our community. It was such a pleasure for us to host primary students, teachers and their whānau at what was a beautiful event. We were delighted to try something new with our sports prizegiving by inviting our guests to the first of our sit down meals. New tables and chairs have been ordered for our Auditorium which will make this even easier in the future. We are thankful to Pub Charity for the recent $43,000 grant we have received.
This year we have hosted Mind Lab here which has run for 16 weeks on a Wednesday night. This course has been focussed on raising the capabilities of our Tokoroa Educators by challenging our thinking on Leadership and Digital practices. The best thing about the course in my opinion is the strength of connection we are building as a group of educators. I have often heard teachers from other schools saying they feel like they work at Forest View because they have been at our school so often this year, what a great thing to hear and to see the comfort they feel at our school.
Forest View High School is a member of our Tokoroa Kahui Ako. What a privilege this is for us as the only high school involved. We have learnt a lot this year and have been the recipients of excellent professional learning and connections. It has been a pleasure for us to work alongside the dedicated team leading our Kahui Ako and have them in our school.
It is very appropriate at this time to also acknowledge all the external agencies that support Forest View High School and the wider community. Those we have worked extensively with this year include Raukawa, SWPICS, CareNZ, iCAMHS, Toi Ohomai, Pinnacle Health, RTLB service, Graeme Dingle Foundation, POET, South Waikato District Council, Sport Waikato and our local Police.
E - Environment This year we have made the decision to upgrade the environment we work and learn in. This has included removing and trimming back gardens, getting right on top of our maintenance, throwing out all the old accumulated stuff, cleaning out all areas of the school to make them safer and useable. We have installed new lights to make the use of our facilities at night safer and easier. We are currently repainting the entire school which is due to be finished at the beginning of next year, the highlight colours are our lake colours to signify their importance to us. Looking smarter and working and learning in a new environment is all designed to raise our basic standards and to provide the best to our students.
2020 is an exciting year for us as we have been accepted to be an Enviroschool. This a very timely and apt acceptance given the current climate concerns in the world. We look forward to seeing the difference we can make to our school environment and that of our wider community through the Enviroschools programme.
The guiding whakatauki as we work through this period of Change is “He waka eke noa” - We’re all in this together!
I would like to acknowledge and thank our hard working and dedicated staff for the way they have dealt with the changes and new direction this year.
I would like to make special mention of our Deputy Principal - Kathy McGovern and our Assistant Principal - Aaron Mutua for their hard work this year, advice, diverse opinions and dedication to our students and staff of Forest View. I could not have done this year without the two of you and feel privileged to work alongside you both each day. Thank you both so very much!
To our Year 13 students, well done on your successes and for the contribution you have made to Forest View High School. We certainly hope you have enjoyed your time here, grown closer as a group, made amazing friends and will look back on your time here with fond memories. To all the teachers who have taught you along the way, to your parents and whānau for supporting you on this High School adventure - thank you, they literally could not have done this without you. Look after each other as you head off into your future, keep in touch with each other, let us know about all your successes, I am sure there will be many. If you need us, don’t be too shy to come back and ask us for help! Remember life is an adventure and one that is full of twists and turns and just because things may not work out as you thought, be open to new adventures and paths along the way. To our Head students Renee, Ryan, Kirsty and Grace - thank you for the leadership you have demonstrated this year and for keeping on keeping on when things were tough. You have worked well as a team and done an amazing job this year, we are very proud of you all!
Throughout the year we have had some staff leave who we need to acknowledge for their service to Forest View High School - Ann Deihl retired from her position of Principal’s PA, Kevin Haines retired from his position as a technology teacher and Rebecca Wema left to travel overseas. Leaving us at the end of the year are Kamal Nair as he heads to Te Puke High School, Bruce Dowdle is retiring from teaching but continuing his work as an IT technician for us and Chris Stokes who is finishing as our Business Manager. We are thankful to our fixed term teachers who joined us this year in a variety of teaching roles: Murray Robson, Amy McMahon, Elanie Schutte, Hayden Burke, Angie Richardson, Marnie La’aiva and Gennady Nazaruk. We are also excited to announce that Melanie Tatham has been appointed to a newly created position of Learning Support coordinator. We will still have the opportunity to work alongside Mel, which we look forward to.
To each and every one of you thank you for your contribution to our school and our students. We couldn’t have done 2019 without you!
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou.