Thursday, February 9, 2017

Newsletter Friday 10th February 2017

Dear Parents and Caregivers

A warm welcome back to the school year, and in particular to those new students and their families and whānau who are joining our Hillcrest High School community.

We are planning to communicate with our parents and community on a regular basis through electronic newsletters. Along with our new website,  these newsletters will give you up to date news on the achievements of our staff and students as well as information about school life and other notices.

We have had a busy start to the school year. We currently have 1783 students enrolled, and we are still enrolling in zone students. In particular we have significant numbers in the senior school with 403 in Year 11, 390 in Year 12 and 347 in Year 13. These year levels have certainly grown since Year 9 as new students enter our zone. This year alone we enrolled an extra 38 Year 12 students. Students are certainly staying longer at school as they seek to gain a quality qualification to enhance their chances of entering the workforce or  tertiary education.

Over the course of Waitangi weekend, Mr Franicevic, Mr Nick Bryant, Ms McKnight and I took our senior student leadership team to Great Barrier for our annual leadership weekend. The students participated in a number of team building activities and worked with staff in developing their responsibilities and school based activities for the coming year.

Our 300 Year 9 students have settled into Hillcrest well. They are becoming familiar with our procedures and learning about the culture and expectations of our school. This is the first cohort to adopt BYOD, so we will be monitoring the implementation and use of the devices in our teaching programmes.

Our building projects are making steady progress with the new Hospitality/Food Technology classroom soon to be opened and the Careers Centre, located at the front of the school due for completion in March. Re-roofing of B block was completed over the holidays. We are also in the final stages of installing a cooling system to cool classrooms in C block.

Each year the Board of Trustees in consultation with staff set goals and targets for the year ahead. Teaching and learning and student achievement is the core business of the school and consequently our goals and targets will reflect these as priorities in our plan.

As a school we have challenges to face over the next decade, these include:
  • Increased expectations of our community and stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education and outside agencies
  • Demographic shifts and changes in the Hamilton area
  • A climate of economic uncertainty
  • Shifting labour market demands – current jobs will disappear and replaced by ones not yet known to us. Technology will replace people in the workplace.
  • Political changes – nationally and locally can have an impact on policies and priorities
  • A shrinking world – global communication and movement is now easier than ever
  • New learning technologies – highlighted by our increasing use of digital technology in our teaching practices and communication with our community

Education becomes paramount in an increasingly complex and competitive environment. We are mindful of this in our planning and also in maintaining an inclusive and safe environment, with high standards and expectations founded on a set of guiding principles and values.

We hope all our students make the very most of the year ahead and continue to be good ambassadors of Hillcrest High School as we continue to work positively with our parents, whānau and community to achieve success for all.

Kelvin S Whiting