By Simon Clarke | Posted: Monday December 6, 2021
Well that's it, well almost...
With only a day and a half to go, this will be my final message to the Kaikorai School community. This message not only brings the end to the 2021 school year but my ten-year tenure as Principal of the school.
With so many highlights and too many to mention them all, I do want to take the moment to reflect on a few.
I have thoroughly enjoyed introducing to the school community innovative, interesting and future-focused programmes such as Kaikville, making movies and a range of new technologies for the staff and students to enhance their teaching and learning. We have also had a steady increase over the last ten years in writing and mathematics results and our reading results have remained steady with approximately 90% of our students able to read at their expected level.
The new build is obviously another highlight and although I am very disappointed that I won't be seeing it through to completion, watching how the first seven classrooms have been operating in their new space has been extremely satisfying. It is also reassuring that the decisions the staff made during the planning stage were the correct ones and I am thoroughly looking forward to coming back and seeing it all completed and operating fully. It will be an amazing asset for the school community and I'm sure it will be the envy of all of the schools in Dunedin.
I have learnt so much from working with three different Boards of Trustees and have enjoyed their friendship and unwavering support. A special thanks to the Board of Trustees Chairs during my tenure, Ken Cochrane, Barb Long and the current Board Chair Dougal McGowan. Their fingerprints are all over the many successes the school has had, most notably a five-year ERO review which is the maximum a school can receive.
But perhaps the thing that always brings a smile to my face is when I hear students, staff or parents talk about our school values. It has given us a common language to draw upon, a definition of what a great "Kaik Kid" looks like and we have interwoven these values into the school curriculum which has consolidated these even more into the school culture.
A highlight for any Principal is to see their staff gain promotions. A special congratulations to Beth Downie, Kristen Ferguson and Amy McBeath who have been promoted internally to Principal, Deputy Principal and Syndicate Leader respectively at Kaikorai Primary from the start of 2022. A big congratulations also to Sarah Gilbert who has been promoted to Deputy Principal at Gore East Primary School. I am very proud of your achievements and I will continue to follow your careers with interest.
Other changes for 2021 include Megan Day going on leave for the year as her, soon to be husband, takes up a professional rugby contract in Auckland. Thank you to Susan Oldfield for answering the call once again and starting a new entrant class and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you over the last ten years and I wish you all the very best. Jan Kernaghan, after a long and loyal career at Kaikorai School, is retiring and finally, two of our teacher aides, Lynne Rae and Georgia Budd, are continuing their studies full time at University next year. I wish all of our staff who are leaving every success and I thank you for your hard work and dedication during your time at Kaikorai School.
A special welcome to Bridget McDowell who will be joining Kaikorai from Anderson's Bay School as the Year 5/6 Syndicate Leader. A full list of the changes for 2022, the new staff and teams can be found in this newsletter.
At a time of reflection, you realise how thankful you are. All of the highlights that I have mentioned only happened because of a collective effort.
First of all, I would like to thank my wife and children. Thank you for your unwavering support. I have always tried to make decisions by thinking about how I would respond if this happened to my children.
Thank you to the Parent Group and the wider parent community. I consider many of you as friends and have enjoyed the many "gate" conversations over a huge range of topics. I have always been impressed with your engagement and support of the school.
Of course my final thank you goes to the staff. You have been wonderfully supportive and I am often in awe at the levels of commitment and care you show to the children. It really is a collective team effort with our support staff also doing excellent work. A special thank you to Sharon Fitzgerald who has been amazingly supportive and to the caretaker Mike Bradshaw who is always happy to help in any way. Thank you to the senior management team of Beth, Sarah, Felicia and Kristen. Your support, guidance and leadership have been excellent and you play such a crucial role in the success of the school.
I reflect with a collective pride on the improvements that the staff have made to the school during the last ten years but I am also aware that there is much more the new management team can continue to improve and achieve in the years ahead. I wish Beth, Kristen and the team all the very best and I know they will take the school to an even better place.
It has been a privilege to serve the school community and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and relaxing holiday
Nga mihi nui